Before we really start here let's acknowledge the fact that staking out a village mayor's home with video, checking water records and basically going Private Dick on her whereabouts is fun and all but maybe a little overkill.
But when that village is Traffic Ticket Town, USA, and you or someone you know has probably been dinged by the cops on the approximately seven square inches of I-71 over which Linndale holds fiefdom, you might take minor joy in knowing that the mayor is breaking the rules and eagerly await ensuing consequences.
Enter Cleveland 19, nee Action News 19, and ace investigative reporter Paul Orlousky. The intrepid man behind the microphone set about proving that Linndale mayor Ashlee McLaughlin is actually living in Cleveland not in Linndale
, per the rules, of which Linndale seems to be pretty fond of. After Councilman Tyler Newark began asking questions at a council meeting, Orlousky took control of the action news van wheel.
We reviewed weeks of surveillance video of the Linndale home the mayor and Andy Baker say is their residence. There was no activity there for at times weeks.
At 5:15 p.m. on May 30, Memorial Day, Baker arrived and began to plant some flowers. The next day, he mowed nearly foot-long grass. After a time, he did other yard work while the mayor took a turn on the riding mower.
At the end of the day, they put a garbage can out. Five days later, a neighbor, also a council member and ally of the mayor took the can in. She did it more than once. The grass grew and grew for about three weeks before they came back and mowed again.
On June 28, the mayor and Baker dropped her car off in Linndale, giving the impression she was home.
The next day, we knocked on the door and found no one home. Our repeated attempts to contact the mayor in Linndale failed.
Of course, you can't prove non-residence on landscaping activity alone, so Cleveland 19 grabbed the water records for the home, which is still in the name of McLaughlin's deceased mother.
The result: LITTLE TO NO WATER USAGE OVER THE COURSE OF TWO YEARS. They also reviewed property tax and records and those show that the mayor is $14,000 behind.
A legion of ticketed Northeast Ohio drivers thanks you, Paul.