A week ago, Lakewood Mayor Ed FitzGerald looked like the odds-on favorite to become Cuyahoga’s first county executive, the newly created position charged with steering the region out of its cesspool of corruption.
An item in these pages even revealed that, if and when FitzGerald advances to county office this fall, nobody in line for his Lakewood throne actually wants it (“Cool City Seeks Mayor”). Now it appears FitzGerald has a problem on his hands.
Last week’s round of indictments revealed that FitzGerald took a call from Dimora requesting that he talk with Reliance Mechanical boss Bill Neiheiser about operating Winterhurst Ice Rink. FitzGerald said that he would, and Neiheiser’s company ended up with the contract.
According to an explanation of the deal from Lakewood Council President Kevin Butler, FitzGerald sought two proposals for the rink job; Neiheiser’s company made the much better proposal, so the other one never made it past committee review to council.
FitzGerald has not been charged with a crime, and the Dimora indictment alleges no wrongdoing against him. But he couldn’t have picked a worse time to be linked to the disgraced commissioner.
Neither FitzGerald nor Butler were available for comment.