Who's in charge here? A sneak preview of the new Browns game program shows owner Al Lerner with a one-page bio, while GM and supposed second banana Carmen Policy gets two full pages. One source close to the team poses the obvious rhetorical question: "Who am I? Am I not the owner?" Meanwhile, the bloated Plain Dealer recap of the Browns rebirth has conveniently avoided Imperial Mayor Mike White's role in losing the team, prompting this response from the Modell entourage in Baltimore: "The mayor consistently promised Art he would do something, consistently set deadlines, and consistently broke those deadlines. The mayor has been given a pass. Those of us in Baltimore are the only ones still taking shit for this."
Even in his casket, local hood Alfred Calabrese was a troublemaker. "Allie Cal," as he was known on the street, died in the pen a few weeks ago, leaving a colorful legacy multiple indictments in the Danny Greene killing, a conviction for bank robbery, and a reputation for pounding women and powder up his nose. The wake was held at DiCicco & Sons funeral home on Mayfield Road, where a scuffle broke out, reportedly between current and former paramours, escalating into a free-for-all that nearly toppled the coffin. "There was no fight," insists manager Nick Previte. "I don't know what you're talking about." Lt. Robert Hixenbaugh of the Mayfield Heights PD confirmed that two squad cars were called to the scene, though he also offered a milder version of events. "It wasn't a fight," he says. "It was a property dispute amongst relatives, which isn't all that uncommon." In some circles, anyway.
Turning downtown into an armed camp for the Ku Klux Klan rally did not come cheap. According to figures released by the mayor's office last week, the city spent nearly a half-million dollars on the event, not counting legal fees. Included in that figure: $340,000 in overtime wages for more than five hundred police and safety personnel; $35,000 for power, water, and water pollution control employees (cannily foiling the Klan plot to poison the city's water supply); $18,000 for riot gear; and $1,700 for signs (presumably hand-lettered in gold leaf). Big Boss Mike White touted "no injuries, no damage, no arrests," but a more telling measure of the mayor's security binge is what other cities have spent on Klan rallies. Annapolis, Maryland: $25,000 (safety only). South Bend, Indiana: $13,500. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, most cities spend no more than $40,000 on Klanfests. But then, most cities don't have their mayor and former council president trading punches the day before the event.
Big Dawg must die. John Thompson's jowly mug was tolerable in Sports Illustrated after Art Modell bolted for Baltimore, and his loopy photo in this month's GQ is at least buried in the back of the magazine. And if he insisted on legally changing his middle name to "Big Dawg" this summer, who could protest such supreme tomfoolery? But the debut of Big Dawg Chocolate Crunch cereal in about fifty Northeast Ohio Tops grocery stores this week pushes the whole broken-hearted blue-collar blubbering bit over the line. Brad Cranshaw, a manager and spokesman for Ha-Lo, the Chicago-based sports marketing company hawking the cereal, says, "We thought he exemplified the fans of Cleveland." Thanks, Chicago boy. But most Browns fans can make it to their seats without the help of a crane.
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