“They pay nothing to me,” Armond Budish told a crowd of Democratic supporters in Shaker Heights last month. He was talking about MetroHealth Medical Center’s sponsorship contributions to Budish’s weekly television show, Golden Opportunities, which airs on WKYC. During the broadcast, Budish is joined by a guest in a fairly upscale kitchen-type setting, because conversations are best facilitated with granite countertops and fake produce arranged perfectly in Crate & Barrel decorative bowls. The conversation usually revolves around senior health even though our unpaid and unsolicited consultant’s eye thinks sprinkling in some cute animals might spruce up the ratings.
MetroHealth, which falls under the umbrella of Cuyahoga County finances, pays Budish’s Elder Productions LLC $25,000 quarterly. That’s been the deal since January 2012, adding up to a total of $200,000 presently, according to documents published by Quixotic Cuyahoga County executive candidate Tim Russo. Of that, $160,000 is passed on to WKYC; $40,000 is retained for “production costs.” This all matters because Budish is the supposed favorite in this year’s county executive election.
Michael Solomon, a partner at Budish, Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd., is on record as incorporating Elder Productions LLC (how’s that for a delightfully on-the-nose name?) in 1998.