Hello. We are here again, evidently.
Investigators from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office have served subpoenas at county headquarters
seeking records on multiple officials at the top of Armond Budish's administration. There are two tracks here, possibly related, but little information on the direction of the investigation is available so far. (Both can be viewed in full in PDF form below.)
A spokesperson from the prosecutor's office had no comment on the development.
A statement from the county's law director Bob Triozzi read: "We’re not aware of any specific allegations being made; it’s inappropriate to speculate simply based on the public records we’ve be requested to provide. We are cooperating fully with the investigation. If there is any evidence of wrongdoing, we are as interested as the Prosecutor in ensuring that we find it and take immediate action."
One subpoena, served on Jan. 24, seeks emails and communications between Chief Transformation Officer/Chief Information Officer Scot Rourke, Director of Special Initiatives Emily McNeeley and Hyland Software, One Community, OneCleveland, Everstream, and DigitalC. It also asks for any records of self-reported outside employment, travel or income for each. Two sources say McNeeley's spouse works at Hyland in a department that deals with government contracts.
The other, served Feb. 9, seeks the travel and time records, reimbursements, parking information and basically everything on file for recently departed Chief of Staff Sharon Sobol Jordan. Jordan, whose county salary eclipsed $170,000 a year, last week, on the very day the subpoena was served, announced she'd be leaving her position as Budish's No. 2 for a job at a new non-profit.
Budish had allowed Jordan time off from her job for travel and study at Ohio State in pursuit of an MBA degree. That allowance probably factored in to the county gossip mill that churned for years with complaints that Jordan was seldom around.
Scene had requested her travel reimbursements in a public records request last year. A county spokesperson noted at the time that Jordan didn't use the county parking lot, which explains the receipts for parking garages around Cleveland throughout 2016, of which there are many, but hardly the amount you'd expect from a full-time employee. Perhaps also a reason county employees groused about Jordan's performance. Those can be viewed in a PDF below.
Armond Budish is running unopposed for re-election this year.
Semi-related to all of this: Here's what Cleveland.com editor Chris Quinn wrote
two years ago after a judge released all of the recordings and exhibits from Jimmy Dimora's corruption trial.
The chief lesson learned from the county corruption crisis, which broke into our collective consciousness with a massive FBI raid in the summer of 2008, is that we can never again relax our vigilance over those we elect to govern. Not the voters. Not the criminal investigators. Not the media.
And yes, I know, we in the media dropped the ball. The Plain Dealer repeatedly endorsed these criminals, and the news team that I oversaw at the newspaper did not catch the corruption before the FBI did. For all of you who repeatedly note our lapse, I've said before and say it again: We blew it, and I humbly apologize.
Cleveland.com, since then, has dispatched one reporter to cover county government. That reporter is also responsible for covering higher education in Northeast Ohio and gambling. In other words, in Cleveland.com's eyes, sunken with regret over letting this happen once on its watch, the county merits one-third of a full-time job.
We'll now hop off our soap box.
See related PDF
See related PDF
See related PDF