Petitioners Behind Q Funding Referendum Ask to Be Added to Lawsuit

Jul 3, 2017

The City of Cleveland has cited unconstitutional breaking of existing contracts as their reason to not accept the petitions.
Credit MARK URYCKI / WCPN

In the ongoing battle over the renovation of Quicken Loans Arena, the organizers of the petition drive to block Cleveland’s role in the project are asking to be added to a lawsuit in state Supreme Court. The petition organizers want the state court to either dismiss a lawsuit filed by the city’s law director or add their arguments onto it.

The Cleveland law director filed the lawsuit in early June. It attempts to force the clerk of City Council to accept signatures seeking a referendum on the city’s role in the Q deal. The clerk initially rejected the petitions by saying a referendum would interfere with a contract the city has already signed with Cuyahoga County.

The petitioners’ lawyer, Subodh Chandra, says having a lawsuit between the city’s law director and the clerk of council means the issue is being argued by two parties on the same side. Chandra points out that both the mayor and council president support the Q financing deal.

“Who gets to speak for the City of Cleveland? The voters by referendum, as established in the charter, or some officials who are trying to undermine democracy and the democratic process?" Chandra said.

In a press conference announcing the lawsuit, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the reasoning for having the law director challenge the clerk of council is the court’s help is needed to weigh two arguments that he described as valid.