Despite having heart troubles last Friday while on county business at MetroHealth Medical Center, and having to endure another stent surgery, County Commissioner Tim Hagan was present and accounted for Thursday morning to stamp the county’s development agreement for a new Medical Mart and convention center in blood.
He wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to give a close family friend, Chris Kennedy of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., $800 million dollars to build the thing without competitive bidding and 20 years of business profits for the world.
Despite calls from The Plain Dealer and the owners of the Cavs and Indians to postpone the decision until the details could get more than a week’s worth of vetting, and despite pointed questions from citizens about MMPI’s sweetheart deal, commissioners had their hired gun, attorney Fred Nance, explain how it would be ridiculous for anyone to think this deal is anything but on the up and up and out of this world.
Just before the unanimous vote, Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones paused at the beginning of his speech thanking all the parties involved (apparently he's dropping even the pretense of having doubts about this deal). When others tried to interject, he said, “I’ve only just begun here."
“Hey, I’ve got a bad heart here,” warned Hagan, smiling like grandpa after getting out of ICU.
Then, after the vote, Hagan invoked his tired ticker again when cameramen asked the clerk to move to one side so he could get an unobstructed view of the three commissioners. Hagan mused that the media just wanted to catch a heart attack on film, then he clutched his chest and leaned back in his chair with a smile stretching from ear to ear.
“That’d be must-see TV,” said Jones to hearty laughter from the pews. We're glad someone's enjoying all this. — Dan Harkins
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