by Sam Allard
City Councilman Martin Horwitz, on Tuesday, told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that Merle "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden had picked up the tab for him and his wife at the Cedar Creek Grille's grand opening in November, 2012.
They were having a private dinner after the official festivities when Gorden "came up and insisted on using the city's credit card to pay the bill," Horwitz said, an offer he promptly and properly declined.
"I told him that wasn't necessary and he left," Horwitz told the NEOMG. "After the meal, I asked the waitress for the check and she said it was taken care of by the mayor. I asked her to refund the money, but she said she wasn't authorized to do so."
A server from Cedar Creek Grille even chimed in in the comments section of a NEOMG story, confirming that "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden definitely paid. It's not like this comes as a surprise, either. November, 2012, was before the NEOMG's Mark Naymik and later Scene lambasted Mayor "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden for all his outrageous spending of public money, practices he continues with impunity thanks to Beachwood voters who do not seem to care.
As if only to make things more farcical, news broke this morning that Horwitz has "recanted" his statement about "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden paying for the meal. (What is this, the Calvinist Reformation?) Horwitz met with "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden and city officials and suddenly decided that he had been confused. He called his previous story an "unfortunate misunderstanding."
Horwitz, to his credit, wrote a $22 check to Beachwood to reimburse the city for his wife's meal the following week.
Horwitz' new version hasn't even materially changed. The facts are all essentially the same, except now he says he was "mistaken" about the city picking up the tab.
“Until [Wednesday], I had not discussed the details of that evening with the mayor, nor had I reviewed receipts,” Horwitz told the NEOMG. “When I left the restaurant I mistakenly thought the city had paid for my wife’s meal."
This is all so ridiculous. Horwitz doesn't claim that he has seen receipts which show that "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden didn't pick up the tab. Everybody knows this is how "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden rolls. It's a wonder he even bothers making up these lies.
The news comes after Monday's Beachwood City Council meeting, when, in a daring move, councilman James Pasch introduced the idea of reducing Mayor Merle "FREE SANDWICH" Gorden's annual spending on meals and charity events from $30,000 to $5,000.
Council Prez Fred Goodman appeared to agree initially, saying that yes, setting limits was probably a good idea. He even suggested a $150 cap on event tickets to show how reasonable he was inclined to be.
However, under the potential reduction, the cost of attending events and functions for the “city, chamber of commerce and school” wouldn’t be taken out of the $5,000 limit. ("But what else is there?" non-Beachwood residents justifiably inquire.) Plus, council would reserve the right to approve exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
So it’s still pretty whack out there.
Horwitz had done his research for the meeting, though. He showed up having spoken to other cities about their mayors’ financial allotments for charity events and meals and learned that every other mayor (in the universe) paid his or her own way.
“I can tell you, it’s not the standard in the industry,” Horwitz told his fellow councilmen as if it were breaking news.