lPictured are Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell (in red tie), Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, who is facing two counts of voluntary manslaughter for gunning down two unarmed Blacks slinging 49 bullets, and Ohio Supreme Court JusticeJudi French
CLEVELAND, Ohio- According to public records, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell, the judge hearing the case of indicted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, who faces two counts of voluntary manslaughter after gunning down unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Tim Russell with 49 bullets following a car chase in 2012 that began in downtown Cleveland and ended in neighboring East Cleveland, is corrupt. He is also a friend of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, a formjer common pleas judge, and stole homes via illegal foreclosures for his friends, corrupt elected officials big banks and mortgage companies, and others, a Cleveland Urban News.Com comprehensive investigation reveals.(Editor's note: O'Donnell faces Justice Judi French in a heated race for the Ohio Supreme Court. Send crooked O'Donnell a message, vote Justice Judi French for Ohio Supreme Court).
Brelo has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
O'Donnell is the presiding judge in the controversial Brelo case, and is a White Democrat who served with Prosecutor McGinty, a judge on that bench for 19 years before he resigned to run for county prosecutor in 2011. And he is on the take, an ongoing Cleveland Urban News.Com investigation reveals.
Whether he will be fair in the Brelo case given his history of public corruption remains to be seen.
O'Donnell has allegedly bragged that because he is White, male and a prominent county judge, he can do as he pleases and violate the law without any repercussions. He is among a plethora of judges of the largely White 34-member Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, now led by Presiding and Administrative Judge John Russo, that are stealing homes, data show.
Data show that O'Donnell has stolen homes from Cuyahoga County homeowners with the help of a corrupt county sheriff's office, banks and mortgage companies, including JPMorgan Chase Bank, and Chase's attorneys from the law firms of Lerner, Sampson and Rothfuss, Thompson Hine, and Bricker and Eckler. Also on board with the corruption is University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld, also safety director for the predominantly White city, and her since fired law director Ken Fisher, also a high paid foreclosure appraiser and former general counsel for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. (Editor's note: Under state law the sheriff's office, through appraisers employed by the county, appraises foreclosed homes for sheriff's sales but must appraise them like any other residential homes and the discount at the sheriff's sale is a third off. The Cuyahoga County sheriff's office is appraising the homes below value in violation of state law and is, in essence, stealing the homes for their friends, political affiliates and others who buy them for cheap).
Fisher was general counsel for the county Democratic party under Jimmy Dimora, who is now serving a 28-year federal prison sentence following a host of corruption related convictions, including racketeering.
According to public records, in spite of the fact that common pleas judge Carolyn Friedland dismissed a foreclosure lawsuit in 2011 filed by Chase against a Black family in University Heights, O'Donnell picked up an old case with a non existent mortgage company and tried to steal the home valued at $130,000 for $36,000 for Chase without Chase even filing suit. The action is illegal where the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, in Wells Fargo vs. Jordan, and the Ohio Supreme Court, in the case of Home Federal Loans vs Schwarzwald have made it clear that only the current mortgage holder can seek to take a home via foreclosure.
O'Donnell used since fired county sheriff Bob Reid, a Democrat who was appointed by Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Fitzgerald, also the Democratic nominee for governor, to have county appraiser John Lynch and Fisher, who doubled as a county appraiser who appraised foreclosed homes for the county sheriff's office for sheriff's sales, deflate the value of the home, which violates state law.
O'Donnell, data show, and other judges have also stole other homes in Cuyahoga County, and with help from Cuyahoga County Chief Foreclosure Magistrate Stephen Bucha, the office of the county sheriff, Bricker and Eckler attorneys, and Bucha's wife, an attorney for the Cleveland based office of Lerner, Sampson and Rothfuss.
Bucha presided over the Black families' case in University Heights and his wife' law firm represented Chase. And it was allegedly pillow talk with his Lerner, Sampson and Rothfuss wife that got Bucha, through O'Donnell and the sheriff's office, to deflate the value down so low that Chase could try to steal it for $36,000. But since Friedland dismissed the case in 2011 that theft is null and void under the law, though the Black family told Cleveland Urban New.Com they are getting harassed by police and others for fighting for their home, including Mayor Infeld, who was elected in 2010 and allegedly does not want Blacks in her middle to upper middle class neighborhood of University Heights anymore. Money left from the sale of a foreclosed home would typically be returned to the former homeowner, but not if the sheriff's office illegally deflates it's value to where none is left. (Editor's note: Under state law the sheriff's office, through appraisers employed by the county, appraises foreclosed homes for sheriff's sales but must appraise them like any other residential homes and the discount at the sheriff's sale is a third off. The Cuyahoga County sheriff's office is appraising the homes below value in violation of state law and is, in essence, stealing the homes for their friends, political affiliates and others who buy them for cheap).
Both Bucha and his corrupt wife reside in University Heights, a Cleveland suburb that is roughly 18 percent Black.
Many of the stolen homes are sold to friends of the county Democratic party, the judges, sheriff office affiliates, former and current Cleveland NAACP officials, and even some Republicans, all for cheap.And the theft is undertaken to the detriment of the community, the Black community in particular.
Community activists want all of the aforementioned indicted by a county grand jury on theft and other charges, and for FitzGerald to speak out.
Nailah Byrd, the county inspector general who is Black and was appointed by FitzGerald, is covering up the fraud, the investigation further reveals.
"Community activists call for immediate indictments against all of these educated thugs and elected and other officials involved in this alleged theft and fraud," said Kathy Wray Coleman, who leads the Cleveland-based grassroots group the Imperial Women Coalition."And we call on county executive and gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald to stand up on this issue or to resign as county executive."
The county sheriff is now Frank Bova, also a Democrat and a former Warrensville Heights, Ohio mayor involved in the gross theft of homes via illegal foreclosures, data show. He too was appointed by FitzGerald.