Former Hopkins Airport Honcho Fred Szabo Had a History of Security Violations According to the TSA

by

1 comment
TIM EVANSON/FLICKR CC
  • Tim Evanson/Flickr CC

Public records obtained by WEWS show that former Hopkins airport No. 2 honcho Fred Szabo, who was suspended and reassigned after being caught shepherding City of Cleveland Chief of Operations Darnell Brown to bypass airport security last year, had a history of security violations.

In a letter to the city, the TSA noted it was Szabo's third violation in two years.



"TSA believes that subject Szabo's airport issued access media should be permanently revoked as a result of his egregious actions which negatively impacted the security of our nation's air transportation system, the misleading statement(s) made by him to TSA within his Letter of Response (LOR) to our investigation against him and, the use of his position at the airport to dissuade proper security measures on the date of the incident," the letter read.

The news reinforces a few well-trod and disappointing trends when it comes to how the city conducts itself.



The first: That the city lies and obfuscates. As Cleveland.com and others sought records and information on the security violation last year, City Hall communications team members told reporters that the records could not be provided because the TSA would not authorize their release. The TSA, naturally, told reporters that was an outright lie.

The second: That deference to and protection of Jackson's top officials, at the detriment to public transparency and equal application of the rules, continues to rule the day. According to the records, a security manager who verified the violation was told not to report it to TSA until they had talked to Szabo directly. "If it had been different players, it would have been done right away," the person told investigators, according to the report.

Szabo and Brown spent nearly a month on paid leave while an initial investigation proceeded. Each received a minor slap on the wrist afterward while the administration made every effort to protect them — at the time the incident was revealed and the paid leaves ordered, the city wouldn't even name the two officials involved or describe the offending events.

If you're curious as to how Szabo explained away what he admitted to knowing was a violation of protocols, the internal report showed he told investigators "part of his DNA to help people."

The entirety of Frank Jackson's administration's DNA, meanwhile, is to lie and keep everything secret.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.