LFC Comments: Jerry Cirino [R], currently a Lake County Commissioner, wants to be a State Senator and is running against the Democrat, Betsy Rader. We have watched with great interest Mr. Cirino’s television ads claiming that he is the great business guru, and real “man of the people”.
In the interest of following our mission of exposing the truth and transparency about our public officials, we thought that it would be appropriate to tell our readers about our experiences with Mr. Jerry Cirino. We will “pull back the curtain” on Mr. Jerry Cirino’s treatment of average citizens in Lake County, and show his business “acumen”.
(1) LifeLine – As a pro-life advocate with a zero-tolerance position on abortion, he voted to fund the group called Lifeline of Lake County, a group that provides a path to abortion. John Hamercheck was the lone NO vote on funding LifeLine. Jerry Cirino broke with the conservative Commissioner John Hamercheck, and voted WITH THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEMOCRAT DAN TROY to fund LifeLine.
(2) Rider’s Inn Affair – Cirino offered no assistance to the owner of Rider’s Inn, after former Commissioner Dan Troy [D] demanded the Lake County Port Authority breach a contract with the owner of Rider’s Inn who had the audacity to place a campaign sign for Ron Young on their premises. It was all the “rage” during the election season, and Ron Young wanted to do a press conference right on the porch. But the owner’s husband was dying of cancer, and she just wanted to keep the contract. Once Ron Young won the election, both Young and Cirino had no use for the owner of Rider’s Inn. If it were not for Commissioner Hamercheck, the owner of Rider’s Inn would not have had a resolution to the broken contract.
(3) Jerry Cirino’s Impact on the Visitors Bureau: In 2018, LFC was asked by Mr. Scott Dockus, then the Executive Director of the Lake County’s Visitors Bureau, for help solving an untenable, illegal situation between the Lake County Visitor’s Bureau and the Lake County Port Authority. His problems dealt basically with two issues:
(a) The Commissioners, led by Mr. Cirino, approved the payment of the Port Authority Coastal Manager’s salary out of the Visitors Bureau bank account. This was not legal.
(b) In addition, Mr. Dockus was not happy that Mr. Cirino had reduced the size of their Board, with 3 of the 5 members being appointed by the Commissioners. Cirino appointed his friend and political consultant, Amy Sabath, to the Visitors Board.
Mr. Dockus invited LFC to a meeting between the Visitors Bureau and the Lake County Commissioners. We were told that they were going to discuss the VB’s budget for the coming year. Before the meeting started, Cirino kicked LFC’s President, Brian Massie, out of the meeting. Massie was there merely as an observer, but Cirino said nothing was to be decided even though Commissioner John Hamercheck also attended the meeting. This was nothing more than a show of power by an egotistical bully that has complete disdain for any citizen that questions him. Instead of welcoming citizens that show an interest in governmental affairs, Cirino shuts them down because he must never be questioned by a perceived subordinate.
LFC informed Mr. Dockus that we believed that he was being set up to take the fall for the Visitors Bureau’s past indiscretions. That information proved prophetic, because Mr. Dockus ultimately was fired; and unfortunately, escorted out of the building by the Painesville Police Department (the Fake News lied to you all about that…and we have a copy of the police report proving that a board member contacted the Painesville Police Department the night before stating they needed a police escort for a firing the next day. They walked Mr. Dockus out of the office building and threw him into an Uber (he had driven the company car to work that day). He deserved better treatment, but that’s what happens to you when you go up against the cabal in Lake County
The Flippin’ “Better Flip” Debacle…vintage Cirino
(4) LFC has written many articles about the Lake County Port Authority’s project known as the Better Flip. It was a Cirino backed concept to show citizens what could be done with a 1950’s Willowick bungalow in an attempt to increase the home values in the Western end of Lake County – thereby increasing the property tax base and the tax revenues. We had stated that we had no problem with the concept, although we would have preferred to see the private sector, those that flip homes for a living, spearheading the project. What we have strenuously objected to is how our politicians and bureaucrats totally mismanaged the project.
We discovered the following major missteps by the Port Authority Board that Cirino and Commissioner Ron Young chose to ignore and accepted as their normal business practice.
- The Lake County Port Authority Board, through their attorney, had to admit that the budget that was mentioned several times in various Minutes documents was NEVER prepared. This is fiscal nonfeasance at the very least, which was fine and dandy with Jerry Cirino and his sidekick, Ron Young.
- The Lake County Port Authority Board prepared and passed a resolution authorizing them to start the project and set a spending limit of $150,000, THE THRESHOLD FOR AVOIDING COMPETITIVE BIDDING. The board then passed two (2) more resolutions making the project come in at 100% over the initially approved amount of $150,000. No problem to Cirino or Young.
- Upon starting the project, the Lake County Port Authority found serious foundation problems, although the project had been “green lighted” by the professional builders on the Port Authority Board. This immediately put the project WAY, WAY, WAY over budget and delayed the project exponentially.
- LFC discovered that the Lake County Port Authority used non-registered contractors on the project. Regular contractors have the entire library thrown at them for using unregistered contractors…but not the Ivory Tower crowd.
- The Lake County Port Authority brought the project in 100% over the amount initially approved for the project, i.e. $299,000 of the taxpayers’ money. When we add in the fact that the Land Bank donated the property to the Port Authority, it further emphasizes the scale of the mismanagement. No problem for Cirino and Young…$150K is just chump change to guys like that.
6. We have serious doubts that Cirino is the business guru that he purports to be in his television ads. His one project in four years was not completed on time and came in 100% over the initially approved amount. That is not the stuff of legends.
Additionally, Scott Yamamoto, the Lake County Auditor that was asked by Cirino, and the Port Director at the time, to try to sell this “pig in a poke” project, has left his government job and gone back to the private sector. Do you blame him?
(7) During a Commissioners’ meeting a citizen pointed out to Mr. Cirino that the Lake County Port Authority board was guilty of fiduciary nonfeasance, and the Assistant Prosecutor, Mr. Hackman, confirmed that the citizen’s interpretation of the ORC was correct. She further suggested that perhaps the reason Mr. Cirino was refusing to act was because he was in business with a former Port Authority Board Members, Chris Madison (a stellar bean counter from Cohen & Company who didn’t prepare a budget for the Better Flip). This citizen suggested that Mr. Cirino might be conflicted because it would be bad for his My Board’s business. What business owner wants someone like Chris Madison on their Board…if he was on the Board for a government entity and did not prepare a budget for a project that ended up costing DOUBLE what was originally intended? Upon hearing the comment, Cirino exploded; and, with the use of his index finger for emphasis, told the young lady, in no uncertain terms, she should NEVER question his motives regardless of what he does and that her claim was scurrilous. The bully in Cirino always seems to surface, because you never question “the Don”.
(8) Do you want to see the real Jerry Cirino? Look what happens when a citizen asks questions. Go to the 10:08 mark of this video, and you will see how Cirino treats people. DO NOT DARE QUESTION CIRINO….YOU WILL FEEL AND HEAR HIS WRATH!
(9) Another problem with Cirino’s ads is that he showed a picture of him shaking hands with that “stalwart” Republican, Sheriff Dan Dunlap. The problem is Dunlap supports Democrats…especially liberal judges. Maybe this is Cirino’s idea of “crossing the aisle”. Here is a recent article on Dunlap’s latest support of Democrats:
The citizens have a choice to make on November 3rd. We wanted to be sure that you saw the real Jerry Cirino, and not be swayed by any glitzy television commercials. We ask that you choose wisely.