Audit shows Ohio improved compliance to open records laws
A test of Ohio's open records law has found much higher compliance than a similar audit conducted a decade ago. Newspaper, television and radio reporters throughout Ohio served as auditors in all 88 counties. The audit saw adherence in nine of every 10 requests for basic records, such as meeting minutes, a mayor's expense report, school superintendents' pay and police incident reports. 10 years ago, there was adherence in seven of every 10 requests. The project assigned auditors to locations where they would not be recognized, and auditors did not identify themselves as reporters to ensure the same experience as typical citizens. Akron City Hall was the only place in the Akron Beacon Journal’s five-county circulation area where an attempt to inspect public records in person failed. Akron city spokeswoman Stephanie York said public records requests normally would go through the law department first. Stark County granted all six records within a reasonable amount of time.
Sen. Portman invited to Romney's GOP 2016 funding retreat
Ohio Senator Rob Portman will be going to a GOP retreat hosted by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney this week. The Plain Dealer reports the purpose of the retreat is to introduce Romney’s past campaign contributors to potential GOP hopefuls for the 2016 election. Portman was a front-runner for vice president in 2012 and helped Romney practice for debates. Other likely attendees include former Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Cleveland Clinic to build new rehab hospital with private partner
Cleveland Clinic and a national network called Select Medical are going to build an inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Avon. The two announced the joint venture Tuesday. The hospital will have 60 beds, and provide residencies in physical rehabilitation. It will be built next to the Avon medical campus, and is expected to open late next year. Select Medical has nearly 32,000 employees and works with more than 100 hospitals nationwide, including 15 rehab hospitals. Its affiliations include Baylor Health System in Texas and Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
ACLU opposing prison contract renewal for immigrant inmates
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is asking the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to stop housing immigrant inmates at a private prison in Youngstown. Tennessee-based Corrections Corp. of America houses over 1,500 federally-convicted and sentenced immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally at The Northeast Ohio Correctional Center. The ACLU says imprisoning immigrants enriches private companies and leads to abuse and neglect of the prisoners. The company says the contract provides over 400 jobs and nearly $22 million dollars in payroll to the community. It wants the contract renewed when it expires next May.
Ohio Supreme Court to hear Toledo red light camera case today
Ohio Supreme Court justices get to raise their own questions in the debate over traffic cameras. Attorneys for motorists will challenge the cameras at the state's high court today in Columbus as attorneys for the city of Toledo and a traffic camera vendor defend automated enforcement. Civil liberties groups and nearly 30 Ohio legislators have sided with drivers in legal briefs. The Ohio Municipal League, several cities and other camera companies are supporting Toledo's cameras. A lawsuit claimed Toledo's system bypasses the courts and violates drivers' constitutional due-process rights. Advocates say cameras make Toledo and other communities safer.
Mogadore schools levy returns to ballot in August
A Summit County school district will ask voters to approve a levy for the third time in as many years. Mogadore’s 5.9 mill levy on the August 5th election ballot would raise about $500,000 for the district, which it says would keep it from having a budget deficit. A similar levy was rejected by more than half of voters in May. If the levy fails, the district will likely cut busing and increase pay-to-play fees. It did a “dry run” of its looming bussing cuts for a week earlier this year, eliminating transportation for students who live within who live within two miles of their school.
Congressman Renacci asks to be excused from Suarez trial
Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci wants a federal judge in Cleveland to quash a subpoena and prevent him from being called to testify at the trial of a Stark County businessman. Telemarketing millionaire Ben Suarez is on trial on charges related to violations of federal campaign finance laws, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Suarez is accused of donating $100,000 each to Renacci's 2012 campaign and to the 2012 failed U.S. Senate campaign of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. Both Republicans returned the donations after learning of an FBI investigation. The two politicians aren't accused of wrongdoing. Attorneys for Renacci say the congressman's testimony is not essential to the case.
Cleveland man convicted of $3 million in fraud against NBA's players' union
The founder of an investment firm that handled the National Basketball Players Association's investments and finances has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for a $3 million fraud. Joseph Lombardo, of the Cleveland suburb of Gates Mills is the founder and former chief executive of Prim Capital Corp. He pleaded guilty in November to the crimes related to his firm's work on $250 million of the union's assets from 2001 until 2013. Lombardo created a fake contract with the basketball players who entrusted him to manage their union's assets. They say he then lied to a federal grand jury about his actions and told others to do the same.
Deadly shootings cause Cleveland little league to find new fields
A youth baseball league will not play games at a Cleveland park anymore because of recent shootings there. The West Denison Little League is scrambling to find other fields after two shootings in three days at Thrush Park on the city's west side. One person died and a teen was wounded. The league’s president says games that had been scheduled for the park won't be played there until parents can feel confident their kids will be safe.