Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cleveland Scene paper runs story the Plain Dealer would not.

Media: According to the Scene, one of the stories the Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Doug Clifton was whining about he couldn't run is about alleged corruption by former Mayor Mike White. It reads like typical Philadelphia/New Jersey politics, the Mayor and his boys getting paid.

"If you believe a secret affidavit authored by the FBI, the City of Cleveland was open for business during the reign of former Mayor Mike White. And that business was extortion. The affidavit -- sealed by a federal judge but obtained by Scene -- was written in 2002 by FBI Agent Christine Oliver as part of a wiretap request targeting multiple people. Its 64 pages are loaded with damning allegations against White, contending there's "probable cause" to believe the mayor headed an extortion ring, whereby businesses were forced to pay bribes in exchange for city, school, and airport contracts. It also contains confessions of bribery by Cleveland businessmen. The FBI asserts White orchestrated the ring with a few close friends, including Nate Gray, Ricardo Teamor, Ralph Sheldon Tyler, and Mohammed Saedi. According to the affidavit, White's underlings would guarantee contracts in exchange for bribes, then kick a percentage back to the mayor. "The investigation has identified Nathaniel Gray as a 'bag man' for business persons and public officials, including former Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White," wrote Agent Oliver. Noted one confidential source: It is "well known in the construction community that, if you do not make the necessary payment to Gray, you are not awarded the contract."
Long article, read the whole thing as they say. If this is one of the stories Clifton was holding back, I think his whining about the pressure about sitting on stories has less to do with possible criminal charges and more along the lines he didn't want to embarrass/anger the wrong people. I am not talking about the FBI in this case.

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