Contract forging East Cleveland chief’s secretary held by feds

Norton gave Veal a $10,000 raise after she was accused of stealing a check and she paid up with a forged contract

Community development director Melran Leach is over his head and may have his own troubles with federal agents because of the way demolition contracts have been steered to contractors with ties to mayors and not in compliance with federal procurement laws.

Federal agents who appear to have spent the past four years investigating how dollars earmarked to demolish homes in poor census tracts have been corrupted by local government officials, landfill owners and demolition contractors escorted East Cleveland police chief Michael Cardilli’s secretary from her home in Euclid, Ohio on October 3rd.

Sources confirm that Veal was escorted by agents around 9 a.m. and released approximately two hours later.

Vanessa Veal was suspended by Mayor Brandon King on September 26th after he learned she forged community development director Melran Leach’s signature on a demolition contract intended for a company being promoted by former East Cleveland Mayor Gary A. Norton, Jr. 

The photograph from Vanessa Veal’s Facebook page shows her attending an event with former recalled Mayor Gary Norton who voters recalled in 2015. Norton was accused of being a thief by his opponent, Dr. Joy Jordan, in 2013. Norton’s wife, a former Cleveland school principal, ended up with a theft conviction after she stole over $10,000 from other principals. Norton’s mother during the 2013 campaign said her son was not a thief. His no bid and rigged contract from Veal suggests she may not know her son.

Norton had “sold” the company during a June 19th council meeting as offering to do free demolitions.  Norton told residents and council his company would demolish homes for free because he “cared for the community.”

Veal was hired in 2008 as a secretary to then chief of police Ralph Spotts.  She was disciplined by the mayor for a judgement call she made to interfere with police while off-duty and drunk.

Chief of police Michael Cardilli was so busy violating a state law that told him to stop performing a police officer’s duties without OPOTA credentials that he didn’t see his crooked secretary had rigged a contract to give her old boss. Critics have zero confidence that his investigation of the theft of $8000 in municipal court funds by an employee of Judge Will Dawson’s who drove the money to the bank instead of using armed carriers, and who claims to have been robbed by a man on a bicycle, will be any more vigilant.

In 2012 Veal was revealed by a local newspaper to have cashed a check at a local supermarket in Forest Hill Shopping Center and then reporting it lost to get another.  Instead of facing discipline Norton gave her an $8000 pay raise and told council she was “worth it.”  The East Cleveland Tattler shortly afterwards revealed that police had caught the two in a compromising position at Forest Hills Park.

Veal was assigned to control money Norton and council gave the Police Athletic League.  Former Council President Joy Jordan criticized Norton for using the money to take his and Veal’s families on out-of-town trips.

The day after Veal was suspended Cardilli was seen in her office listening to voice mail messages.  Human Resources director Belinda Kyle and Cardilli are alleged to have a close “lunch buddy” relationship. 

Kyle has expressed concern that King didn’t know she’d removed derogatory information from Veal’s personnel file and other employees. 

Citizens asking for public personnel records in Kyle’s possession have complained of how “empty” they’ve been of basic information for long time employees.

Sources at the time this post was published could not confirm which federal law enforcement agencies were involved in Veal being held and released.





Eric Jonathan Brewer
Author, Investigative Journalist, Speaker, Politician, Consultant

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