Transparency is Needed in Lake County

LFC Comments by Brian Massie, average citizen

Foreclosures, bounced emails, illegal meetings…oh my, what a tangled web we weave…

We have been trying to get some answers on why the Lake County, Ohio judges exclusively use the Lake County Sheriff for foreclosure sales rather than using the option of Private Selling Officers, as permitted in the Ohio Revised Code section 2329,152.

I sent Judge Eugene Lucci an email asking when and why was the decision made not to use the PSOs. Since I did not hear from Judge Lucci, I tried to send an email to Judge O’Donnell, with copies to all three Commissioners, but the email “bounced” and was not delivered to them.

I decided to inform the Commissioners, and ask why my email was blocked? You can hear their responses in the first part of the following video.

I was also informed by several sources that there was a meeting held by the Lake County Corrections Board on the Wednesday (7/27) before the Commissioners’ meeting on Thursday (7/28). In addition to the Corrections Board Chairman Craig Berry, the Lake County Judges and Commissioners attended the meeting. The Ohio Revised Code requires public bodies, at all times with some exceptions, to hold meetings that the public can attend. In our opinion, the Corrections Board violated the law. You will hear in the video the Commissioners hide behind the fact that they were merely participants since they are statutorily required to be on the Board but do not control anything. Therefore, they and the Judges all participated in the illegal meeting, but they believe that they are just innocent bystanders with “clean hands”. They, basically, threw the Corrections Board Chairman “under the bus”.

Assistant Prosecutor Dave Hackman knew nothing about the meeting. Makes us wonder why the Prosecutor’s Office was not at the meeting?

At the Commissioners’ suggestion we contacted Craig Berry, and left a voice mail message. To date, he has not returned my call.

Not one “mea culpa” from any public officials.


Here are the Ohio Revised Code Sections dealing with public meetings:

ORC 121.22 – “All meetings of any public body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times. A member of a public body shall be present in person at a meeting open to the public to be considered present or to vote at the meeting and for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present at the meeting.”

(B) As used in this section:

(1) “Public body” means any of the following:

(a) Any board, commission, committee, council, or similar decision-making body of a state agency, institution, or authority, and any legislative authority or board, commission, committee, council, agency, authority, or similar decision-making body of any county, township, municipal corporation, school district, or other political subdivision or local public institution;

(b) Any committee or subcommittee of a body described in division (B)(1)(a) of this section;


At the end of the video you will hear Mr. Hackman repeat a couple of times that “informational meetings” are permitted by the ORC without public participation. He also states that I am well aware of that fact because of the lawsuit I filed against a previous Commissioner.

Mr. Hackman is referring to the lawsuit that I filed against then Commissioner Jerry Cirino and the Lake County Visitors Bureau. Cirino kicked me out of a meeting for no reason, other than to show his power as Commissioner. As fate would have it, Judge Eugene Lucci was the judge that decided that the Visitors Bureau is not a public body, and this pro se lawyer lost his first case.

I still contend that Judge Lucci was incorrect. The Visitors Bureau receives over 90% of their funding from taxpayers via the Hotel Bed Tax. However, the Prosecutor and Judge Lucci believe that the Hotel Bed Taxes received by the Visitors Bureau are merely “CONTRIBUTIONS” from the taxpayers. Therefore, the Visitors Bureau meets their 501 (c ) (6) non-profit status because of the contributions, and is not considered a public body.

So the Prosecutor’s Crime Lab levy is merely a “contribution” by the taxpayers. Quite frankly, I am not sure that Lake County taxpayers can afford all of these “Conservative” Republicans. [This is a battle for another day.]

Perhaps it is a coincidence, but we did receive a written response from Judge Lucci on the use of Private Selling Officers shortly after the meeting.

After thanking Judge Lucci for responding to our questions on the PSOs, I decided to ask about the illegal Correction Board meeting held on Wednesday morning at 7:00 am. He immediately responded with the following:

We again thank Judge Lucci for he clear, concise and helpful response.

Regarding the “bounced” email issue, Commissioner Hamercheck asked Mr. Nicholas Falcone, Lake County’s Chief Information Officer, to determine if there were any rejected or blocked emails from Lobbyists for Citizens. Mr. Falcone replied that he was unable to find any emails blocked, rejected, or quarantined from our email address.

Just for the record here is the error message we received:

Probably just an anomaly…a computer glitch…

However, we did determine that the County IT department is tracking Lobbyists for Citizens’ emails to all public officials.

As far as tracking Lobbyists for Citizens, we would like to thank the individual(s) that “dropped a dime” on us with the F.B.I. You have helped increase our readership. At least two F.B.I. agents are reading our “moronic blog” as Senator Jerry Cirino used to refer to it. After a 1 1/2 hour meeting with four F.B.I. agents, I was told that they wished there were more groups like Lobbyists for Citizens in the State of Ohio.

Full disclosure – speaking with four F.B.I. agents was not on my “bucket list”.




Categories: Lake County Politics, Uncategorized

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