Cleveland Scene was shut out of the first half of Pat O'Malley's sentencing last Friday, along with Cleveland Magazine, because, for the first time in recent history, court proceedings actually started on time. At 9:01 a.m., as Judge David Dowd entered his courtroom at the Akron federal building, a U.S. Marshall said we were too late and ushered us into the hallway.
Turned out that O'Malley's entourage was a little late too. Five minutes into character testimony, a small mob of thick-muscled men in pinstriped suits stepped out of the elevator and gathered around the closed doors. A guy named Doug who claimed to be a retired cop peeked through the space between the two doors. "Fuck, Tom Meyer is in my seat," he said. "He should step out here. I'd be like Pow!" He pantomimed punching the reporter in the face. "How do you like your undercover camera now!"
The other fellas laughed. Then they spent the next hour going up and down the stairwells, searching for a way to get their friend out of the courthouse without talking to media after sentencing. One guy, a brute of a man with multiple earrings, said his name was Joe, and he once wrestled for Brooklyn before becoming a "bodyguard." A tall man with a mustache who smelled like Aqua Velva could be overheard saying to an associate, "Only reason he's still alive is I don't want to spend the rest of my life in prison. He pulls that shit after 20 years?" He waved his hand in the air in a fuggetaboutit gesture. It wasn't clear if he was speaking of accused perv enthusiast O'Malley.
Eventually, Judge Dowd called recess and a few reporters and family members filtered out to use the facilities. Cleveland Scene took the opportunity to steal Tom Meyer's seat (you're welcome, mooks). A few minutes later, sentencing continued. It quickly became apparent that the political influence of O'Malley's friends does not yet reach into the federal building. Michael Sullivan, once on (O'Malley's college roommate) Bill Mason's payroll, ruthlessly picked apart the character witnesses who tried to blame O'Malley's ex-wife for the illegal porn FBI agents found on his computers.
"Did he tell you about the images that show women having sex with 10 different species of animals? Fish? Snakes? A rooster?" he asked. "Did he tell you about the stories he downloaded that talk about children held in captivity? Stories about men masturbating on cupcakes which the children are then forced to eat?"
Noticeably absent was Mason himself, who didn't even write a letter on O'Malley's behalf, at least not one that the court read out loud. Luckily, another lawyer spoke up in support of his friend. R. Paul Cushion wrote that O'Malley shouldn't have to live with the stigma of being incarcerated. Sullivan reminded the court that Cushion is probably still angry over his own stigma, being that guy who shot his girlfriend days after hosting a fund-raiser for Mason.
Finally, Judge Dowd sentenced O'Malley to 15 months in prison. He was taken into custody immediately for his own protection. - James Renner
When David fights Goliath outside the realm of mythology, David gets used like a toothpick. But somebody forgot to tell Miles Oravetz this. For eight years now, the commercial painter from Branford, Connecticut, has been tilting at the windmill that is Cleveland-headquartered Sherwin-Williams. Who knows whether, in all this time, he's gotten any closer to his goal of discrediting the company he says stole his intellectual property (a DIY wallpapering video) with the flippancy of Sam Miller hoarding mints at Morton's.
He says he hasn't sued because he hasn't got the resources - and it's much more fun to go the other route anyway.
"Cornelius Vanderbilt, in the 19th century, went to Europe, and when he came back, his partners had stolen everything," Oravetz recounts from the history books. "And what'd he say? 'Gentlemen, I'll not sue you. I'll ruin you.'"
Oravetz's mission to taint the paint giant has included chartering planes on eight occasions to fly banners over S-W's annual shareholders' meeting, as well as the shareholders' meetings of companies whose CEOs are on S-W's board of directors - like Malachi Mixon's Invacare in Elyria and the former Diebold in North Canton. The banners tend to allege something like "[Insert company on the ground below] is corrupt and unconstitutional," which is a lot of letters to rent.
Oravetz's own trade union gave him the boot. But he's persisted, buying at least one share of stock in each of the companies represented on S-W's board, allowing him to rear his head inside shareholders' gatherings. Two years ago, he filed a complaint with the SEC after he says four "suits" - presumably from S-W and its law firm, Jones Day - surrounded his seat in the middle of a near-empty auditorium at S-W's annual meeting. "They didn't move," he recalls. "They just sat there. I knew what the message was. They were trying to intimidate me."
Of course, the SEC told Oravetz it would investigate, until it decided not to. All of his congressional delegation have written requests for information to the SEC, and all have been met with, "Miles who?" Sherwin-Williams' only response, via e-mail from spokesman Mike Conway, is, "We don't have any comment regarding Mr. Oravetz. We think his behavior speaks for itself."
But Oravetz just keeps thinking up ways to throw wrenches into the wheel - like moving Jones Day way up his growing list of Enemies of Justice and the Constitution. He says he's sent out 50,000 mailers advertising his web site, webetrayamerica.com, to all of S-W and Jones Day's corporate clients. "If anything I'm saying isn't true, why aren't they suing me?" wonders Oravetz. "The reason is, you can't sue if it's true. You can't sue the First Amendment. I've taken the most powerful tool in the country and turned it against them. I'm just going to tell everybody. I'm going to join their country club. See how they like that." - Dan Harkins
Midwifery is an unsung profession. Pat Serio, a certified nurse midwife who works out of an ob-gyn clinic in Westlake, knows this firsthand. "It's just a shame that more American women don't know about midwives," Serio wrote to Cleveland Scene. In other countries, like England and Holland, midwifery has led to better birth outcomes, fewer premature babies, and less complications during labor and delivery.
In the U.S., midwives have master's degrees, are state licensed and have passed national certification exams. A normal visit includes unhurried chats about nutrition, weight gain, exercise and ways to avoid complications, which are especially important for low-income women who lack consistent health-care services. Many private insurers now cover midwives. So does Medicaid, the national program for low-income families. Medicare, a program for the disabled and elderly, reimburses midwives at a rate of 35 percent less than Medicaid.
Last year, a bill that would give midwives equal pay under Medicaid was scuttled in the U.S. Senate. The Midwifery Care Access and Reimbursement Equity Act needs to be reintroduced in the House. These topics and more are being discussed during National Nurse-Midwifery Week, October 5-11. For more info, visit midwife.org. - Charu Gupta
At about 6:30 a.m. last Thursday, something entered Earth's atmosphere above Northeast Ohio. Witnesses described a bright green object emitting a gold exhaust traveling southwest over the treetops at a high rate of speed. "It appeared to be very low in the sky, just over the rooftops, with a tail about eight miles long," according to a report on NewsNet5.com. "Some viewers said it was bright blue and yellow or bright green and red. 'This thing went from north to south in a downward angle. It had a bright green head and a short gold tail. I've watched plenty of meteors, and this was like no meteor I've ever seen. It lasted about 5 seconds,' Bruce said in an e-mail." Do you ever experience "missing time"? When you visit the dentist, are you overcome with fearful flashbacks of little gray beings? Do you make mountains out of your mashed potatoes? If so, you're not alone. A local Alien Abduction Support Group has recently formed and meets regularly. Contact Susan at CRASM@aol.com for more information.
BEAST IN SHOW
A local environmental surveyor claims he was assaulted by the creature known as Grassman (think Bigfoot, but smaller and living near Akron). He videotaped most of the encounter, including odd lion-like growls emanating from an old-growth forest and a hairy foot that belongs either to an unknown hominid or his cousin dressed in a gorilla costume. Judge for yourself: youtube.com/watch?v=PIxNYZ3TOJk
According to the legend, Dr. Crowe was an evil genius who ran an orphanage in Kirtland. Supposedly, he experimented on the children who lived there, turning them into big-headed mutants with super-human strength … before they revolted, killing Dr. Crowe, burning the orphanage to the ground and escaping into the woods, where they live to this day. The best place to catch a glimpse of the Melonheads is on Wisner Road, near "Crybaby Bridge." Mapquest it. Did ET touch you? We want to know where. Send your O-Files reports to email@example.com.