As the county’s indicted celebrities prepare for the fall court season, the fashionable response to claims of misconduct thus far has been the classic handcuffed plea of innocence, followed by chipper anticipation of the judicial system running its happy course.
But give the style points to William Neiheiser, longtime head of the heating and cooling company Reliance Mechanical, who was named last week in two corruption counts related to Dimora. As the feds were hauling Neiheiser into court, he was making his case online.
“If you are reading my web page, this means the US Government has indicted me on charges related to the Cuyahoga County corruption case,” reads the greeting at billneiheiser.com, where visitors are met by a cheerful Neiheiser posing in business attire in front of Cleveland’s nighttime skyline.
The 2,600-word literary adventure goes on to say that Neiheiser is not concerned about proclaiming his guilt or innocence (though innocence is a recurring theme), but in venting a few things that have been bothering him of late — most notably how federal investigators are prying eggheads who are making the county’s problems worse.
And how do they achieve this, you might ask? By tearing down the very system of commerce our great nation was built upon, says Neiheiser.
“As you watch our town struggle, given the troubling economy of the last decade, you can be assured that it will only become worse over time if the strength of these business relationships is torn apart through this investigation,” he writes.
“We are an industry that is comprised of marketing, networking, and customer relations. However, because of this County investigation, everyone has said “screw it,” and we will no longer have these relationships, which are the backbone of our city’s future. This is not corruption; rather, this is the way business is conducted everywhere, whether in the White House, within small governments, or in large and small businesses each and every day.”
Thus, we are treated to a preview of the forthcoming Neiheiser defense in federal court: It ain’t wrong if everybody else is doing it too.
Good luck with that one, Bill.