A councilman gets scammed by his aide.

Santiago vs. Santiago 

A councilman gets scammed by his aide.

When Councilman Joe Santiago took on Pablo Santiago (no relation) as a ward volunteer, Joe knew he was hiring a former gang member/heroin addict with multiple felonies on his résumé, including a rape conviction. Still, Joe believed everyone deserves a second chance.

Even when Pablo was arrested in January for assault at Club Envy, Joe stood by his side. Pablo claimed self-defense, Joe says. "We only knew his side of the story, and we believed it."

But that all changed when Joe became Pablo's latest victim. In September, while Joe was vacationing in Italy, Pablo stole letterhead from the ward office. Posing as the councilman, he forged letters to businesses, asking for donations on behalf of a young Puerto Rican girl dying of cancer.

When Joe returned, he discovered Pablo had collected at least $5,000 to help the fictitious girl. "I looked at the letter, and it was in the wrong format and obviously forged," Joe says.

The case is under investigation, and Pablo's been barred from the ward office. "He's a criminal and a con man," says Joe. "And he took advantage of me. We were just trying to lead him on the right path. Now, he don't mean nothing to me."

Last month, Pablo was sentenced to two years for the assault at Club Envy. But on November 20, when he was scheduled to see his new accommodations, Pablo was nowhere to be found. He's now claiming he has cancer. Joe says that's bullshit. "He's faked several illnesses. He shows up with these fake medical records, always claiming to have something. He just doesn't want to serve time. He'll do anything to not have to go to jail."

But Judge Lillian Greene apparently bought the story, giving him until January to report to the slam.

Attack on Pittsburgh
Ohio voters killed the proposal to bring casinos to the state, but Forest City is hoping to find a better fate in Pittsburgh.

Two years ago, the Pennsylvania legislature cleared the way for gambling. Forest City, teaming with Harrah's, is vying with two other companies for a downtown site. But unlike Ohio, Pennsylvania actually makes people compete for their handouts. One of the developers, Isle of Capri, has pledged to build a new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins if its bid wins.

But Forest City is intent on sticking to the game it perfected in Ohio: fabricating numbers. The company claims its casino would generate $538.7 million in revenue by its second year of operation, providing a windfall of tax revenue. Yet a Gaming Control Board task force puts the real number at $426 million. A citizens' group came up with similarly low numbers.

That's another bad thing about PA: They actually do their own research.

"I don't know how they came up with their numbers to come up with that higher of a revenue projection," says Anne Swager, co-chair of the citizens' task force. Apparently, Sam Miller's calculator rounds up to the nearest hundred million.

Stanley steamers
When Last Call Cleveland debuted its rock opera Michael Stanley Superstar in 2004, the comedy troupe was greeted with the praise of critics and the middle finger of Michael Stanley himself.

Perhaps he'd gotten wind of the script: In the story, Satan offers a young Stanley the opportunity to sell his soul in exchange for worldwide fame; the musician counters that he'd be satisfied with just playing rib cook-offs in Northeast Ohio. The action culminates in Stanley's death struggle with Pittsburgh crooner Donnie Iris.

So, yeah, portions are somewhat fictionalized.

Though Last Call offered Stanley free tickets, his reserved seats went unfilled throughout the show's run.

Now the troupe is reviving Superstar December 28 and 29 at the House of Blues. The new twist: They're sharing the bill with Stanley. Last Call will play the Cambridge Room after Stanley plays the main stage.

"I don't know if we're sharing the bill," Stanley clarifies. "We'll be in the same club." And in keeping with tradition, he doesn't know whether he'll stop by.

It's all good to the boys of Last Call. "The part that I personally am most looking forward to is the legitimate likelihood that some genuine Michael Stanley fans will come in after the show and heckle us," says Mike Polk, who portrays the title character while sporting the world's most ridiculous fake beard. "Those inarticulate barbs will be like a sweet nectar, and I will be the industrious bee."

The builder departs?
Not long ago, Maple Heights High and football coach Jeff Rotsky seemed happily married. "This is my life," the fiery millionaire stockbroker told Scene in September ["Man on Fire," October 4].

Now, a few weeks after the Mustangs were bounced from the playoffs, high school web boards are abuzz with rumors that Rotsky will soon depart for another school, with speculation centering on Massillon and Cleveland Heights. West Life newspaper even reported that St. Edward had targeted Rotsky to replace John Gibbons, who was reinstated last week after the school investigated a post-game run-in with a player.

Of course, such web boards are about as reliable as an '86 Fiat, and West Life's report was based on an anonymous source, apparently the school janitor. "I've been told I'm going to 12 different schools," Rotsky tells Punch.

But he also sounds like a man once again on the go, acknowledging that it might be time to "look for another challenge."

"We're five years in here," says Rotsky, who helped turn around programs at South and Chanel. "I enjoy building them up more than I do keeping them on top."

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