He's Tom Meyer. But you know him better as The Investigator.
In his 10 years as Action News' ace sleuth, Meyer has come to embody Channel 19. He's more fair, more honest, more everywhere than anyone in town.
Just read his bio. His work has inspired consumer reform and changes in the law. He's gotten people indicted and fired. And he's racked up enough Emmys -- 52 -- to make Susan Lucci throw herself on the pyre of unworthiness.
But Meyer's christening as America's most investigative investigator came in April, when he bagged the ultimate trophy: Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed.
With hidden cameras, Meyer followed the councilman as he partied in the Warehouse District. On one night, the alarming footage caught Reed sucking down six whole drinks, enough to kill a very small houseplant. Meyer's cameras also captured the "playboy politician" committing an even graver offense: making out with a white chick.
Sure, Reed's young and single. But he's also a city councilman. He should be looking out for the taxpayers. Not making out with them.
And this wasn't just any Friday. It was Good Friday. The Friday Jesus died for the councilman's many sins.
Armed with his damning footage, Meyer then did what every good journalist does: He ambushed Reed with on-camera questions about drinking. A judge threw the councilman in jail for violating probation from a previous DUI.
Because of Tom Meyer, you can bet this punk won't be making out with white chicks anytime soon.
But that's not why I'm standing on East 12th Street, hiding behind a tree, peering through binoculars into the heavily guarded Channel 19 compound.
I'm here to ambush Tom Meyer with the truth.
That's right. Behind all the special reports, all the exclusives, and all the investigations, there's a secret life Tom Meyer doesn't want you to know about.
For everything his reports have answered, Meyer has failed to ask one question:
What is Tom Meyer hiding?
You won't believe the answer.
May 26, 1645 hours.
This is where Meyer lives: a tranquil, leafy street in Strongsville. A large tree obscures the brick structure. His garage door is closed tightly. For a celebrity, Meyer sure seems to be trying to avoid attention.
It soon becomes obvious why.
The first thing you notice: Most of The Investigator's neighbors have basketball hoops.
But take a look at Meyer's house. That's right: no hoop. Not a portable one. Not one mounted to the garage. Nothing.
There's only one conclusion: Tom Meyer hates black people.
Outside his house, there are signs of intolerance everywhere. There isn't a black person in sight. In fact, Scene's I-Team hasn't seen one since we pulled into Strongsville.
"Honest. Fair. Everywhere?" How about "Everywhere there's no black people?" Isn't that a better slogan, Mr. The Investigator?
I approach Meyer's front door. I want to ask why he doesn't have a basketball hoop. But -- no surprise here -- the front door is closed. And it's painted -- you guessed it -- white.
I peer through the glass, but it's tinted, so I can't see in. Meyer's probably inside, chatting online with fellow Klan members. Apparently The Investigator doesn't have time to answer to the people of Cleveland.
May 26, 2200 hours.
Christie's Cabaret. Cleveland.
It's a thumping Friday night. Sex is in the air at this den of sensuous sin. Scantily clad women pace in circles around the stage, eyeing customers.
I'm inside this bustling strip club in search of Meyer. Word is, this is where The Investigator hangs -- at least when he's not organizing lynchings.
Meyer has apparently camouflaged himself; he's nowhere to be found. So I flag down a young dancer. Her name, "Jlynn," is airbrushed in hot orange on her tank top. She is wearing little else.
But she has plenty on Meyer. I press for answers.
"Do you ever have tall, white, brown-haired customers?" I ask.
She looks confused. But there's nothing confusing about her response.
"There's a lot of tall white guys that come in," Jlynn tells me.
I press for answers again, this time pressing a little harder than before.
"You ever have a customer named Tom?"
"I've had tons of Toms," Jlynn admits.
That's right. There's no other explanation: Tom Meyer is a sex addict.
It's a common affliction -- at least among the dangerous and depraved. Not the sort of behavior you expect from an Emmy-winning reporter.
I'm sure that Meyer is hiding somewhere in the club. My eyes wander upward. It turns out there's more than one level of degeneracy to this immoral haunt. A stripper tells me that the club's VIP section is upstairs. Intuition tells me that's where Meyer pays for sex.
No doubt it's also where he smokes his crystal meth.
I head to the stairs, tape rolling in my secret tape recorder. I want to ask Meyer why he left "smoking meth" and "paying for sex with strippers" off his Channel 19 bio. But the club won't let me upstairs.
Not without 52 Emmys and a microphone.
May 26, 2300 hours.
Bounce Nightclub, Cleveland.
It's still a thumping Friday night. Sex is still in the air. But at this hot spot for homosexuals, it's a different kind of sex altogether. A kind of sex Tom Meyer calls "the cool kind."
I'm here looking into claims that Tom Meyer enjoys "shaking his groove thang" at this steamy club. The dance floor is packed. Boys in tight polo shirts grind against boys in tight polo shirts. The bass thumps. In this den of sin, 50 Cent is king. Everyone else is a queen.
In the middle of all this grinding, Tom Meyer is -- that's right -- nowhere to be found. A world-famous reporter can't just "get his freak on" out in the open. Meyer might be high on ecstasy. But he's not stupid.
I move in on where my sources said I would find him: the bathroom. The tile is cold. It smells investigative. But Meyer is once again hiding.
I spot a pair of stylish shoes under one of the stalls. They're pointy. Like Satan's.
"I know you're in there, The Investigator."
There's no answer. Meyer knows he built his street cred by busting a bigwig partying down. To get caught blowing lines -- and Lord knows what else -- in the bathroom of a gay club won't exactly be a career-enhancer.
I leave the bathroom; Meyer will have to come out eventually.
I watch the door until closing time. No The Investigator.
Then it hits me: Tom Meyer is a master of disguise. He once dressed as a cop for a brilliant special report on guys who dress like cops. He likely dressed like a sweaty homosexual to evade my questions.
But one thing's certain: Not even Tom Meyer can evade the freight train of truth forever.
May 27, 1550 hours.
I'm back outside The Investigator's lair. I'm here to ask Meyer why he hates black people and loves drugs and sex. But The Investigator isn't interested in being investigated by another investigator. Once again, he's hiding.
Memorial Day is just around the corner. That's right: Memorial Day. The day America honors its independence.
Most Americans are outside cleaning out their barbecue pits and oiling their baseball mitts. But Meyer is mysteriously missing from his front yard.
So is something else: his American flag.
I scan the face of his brick home for any sign of one. Nothing. That's right. Not a star or stripe to be found.
Then again, maybe going to Lowe's isn't a high priority when you're busy being a communist.
That's right. There's only one conclusion: The Investigator is pinker than the lipstick on a 20-dollar whore.
Once again I approach the door and knock. No answer. Meyer's probably inside, surfing eBay for copies of The Communist Manifesto. Copies he can hand out to his kid's hockey team. A team that plays remarkably efficient hockey.
No, Meyer isn't coming out anytime soon.
But the truth is.
May 27, 1800 hours.
It's yet another thumping night. Sex is in the air. Again.
I'm parked on a wide, shaded street of mini-mansions in Cleveland Heights.
Valet attendants speed up the street, parking cars for a nearby gala. It's warm out. A lovely evening for a party.
But Tom Meyer has a party of his own to attend.
Turns out it isn't just commies and strippers The Investigator associates with. He also has another special friend: 11 o'clock anchor David Wittman.
I arrive at Wittman's early in the evening, when my sources say I can expect to see Meyer. It's quiet. It looks like just another evening in suburbia.
Soon, a minivan driven by a middle-aged woman pulls out of the driveway. She's probably going to the grocery store. She has no idea what's about to go on in her own house. Maybe even her own kitchen.
Across the street from the house is a black sedan marked "company car." It looks like The Investigator has a driver.
But Meyer must have been hiding in the bushes -- so he could rush into the anchor's loving arms as soon as Mrs. Anchor drove off.
Now the house goes quiet. Nothing stirs inside.
I watch the place, but Meyer and Wittman don't come out. They're at it so long, the company car driver falls fast asleep. He looks like he's done this before. Saturdays must be the couple's regular date.
But if you ask this reporter, there's nothing regular about it.
May 27, 1900 hours.
Another evening outside the Meyer house. Once again, things are quiet. Too quiet.
I approach the front door, which looks a brighter shade of white than before. It's time to find out from The Investigator why he's having homosexual rendezvous with his own anchor. Putting us all at risk.
It's time for some answers.
But when I reach the door, it becomes obvious: The Investigator is more than just your everyday racist with a penchant for strippers, gay bars, 11 o'clock anchors, meth, and ecstasy. Lying on the porch is a FedEx package. I examine it. Then I look closer: The package is from Canada.
You're probably thinking the same thing I was: illegal gambling profits. But it's much worse. Meyer's package isn't from just any province. It's from Alberta.
That's right. There's only one conclusion: Tom Meyer is trafficking in child sex slaves.
Click here for an exclusive infographic illustrating how Meyer's underground Canadian sex syndicate works. You won't find it anywhere else.
I'm ready to confront The Investigator. I'm ready to tell him that, thanks to my reporting, his next story will be live from the prison mess hall.
So I call his house. A young boy answers. I want to know what Meyer's doing with a young boy inside his house. I press for answers.
"Is Tom there?"
It sounds like this isn't the first time this boy has been asked this question.
"Um, no. He's in Canada."
I press for answers again.
"Does he . . . live in Canada?"
"Well," the boy says, sounding confused. "As of now."
It's obvious: Tom Meyer is living a double life.
Just think about it: We know he lives in Strongsville; his name is listed in the phone book. But this boy thinks Meyer lives part-time in Canada.
A search of Scene's investigative database, yahoo.com, proves our instincts correct: Tom Meyer also lives in Chagrin Falls.
Meyer may not be honest or fair. But it turns out he is everywhere.
Too bad for him, so am I.
May 29, 1530 hours.
Memorial Day. A day when America remembers its greatest presidents.
But not everyone is honoring their country on this holiday.
I'm paying a visit to The Investigator's other house, to ask him about his double life as a sex-trafficking heroin addict. The house has all the trappings of The Investigator. It's painted a bright white. And while Meyer couldn't get away with not having a basketball hoop -- not in PC Chagrin Falls -- he put his hoop behind the house. To keep any stray black people away.
The Investigator's second house does have a flag, but his communist sympathies shine through. Unlike his neighbors, he refuses to hang any festive bunting.
I knock on his door, but he doesn't answer. I peek around the house. Beyond three Hondas -- of course Meyer buys only cars made in communist Japan -- lies a dense forest. If he's not at home, Meyer must be somewhere in that forest -- digging up Natalee Holloway's body.
Here's what we know: Holloway, an 18-year-old honor student, went missing last year in Aruba. Authorities have been searching for her ever since. But they apparently never checked Tom Meyer's backyard.
The Investigator knows that it won't be long until Aruban authorities show up at his really white house. Once they do, Meyer knows, the only thing he'll be investigating is the inner workings of an electric chair.
Moving the body is his only hope. Maybe then the authorities won't find out.
Too bad for him, I've already cracked the case.
May 30, 1100 hours.
Channel 19 studios.
This is it: The place Meyer racks up all those Emmys.
His fortress seems impenetrable. There's no parking anywhere. It looks as if Meyer doesn't want visitors: He's strategically placed sedans in every spot for at least a block.
But it's time to confront Meyer. To put an end to his double helping of lies and sex and foreign-made automobiles.
I eye the place from across the street. Then I approach the door. Of course, it's locked. I ring a bell, and a woman's voice cries out.
"Can I help you?"
"I'm here to see The Investigator."
"Is he expecting you?"
Knowing that a thug like Meyer won't just open the door for anyone, I tell the woman I'm here with a story tip. She rings me right in. She is a middle-aged black woman. She obviously doesn't know that Meyer puts his basketball hoop in the backyard like a racist. Nor is she aware that she's protecting a high-as-a-kite murderer who lives for sex.
"I have a story tip for The Investigator," I say.
"Is it urgent?"
"It's about Carl Monday."
"Okay, well, you'll have to --"
"And a child-sex ring."
If anything will lure Meyer out, it's a tip about Monday. But the woman is on to me. She executes her emergency enemy-intrusion plan, handing me a complicated form to fill out.
I stand there, considering what to write. There's a picture on the wall. The Investigator. He's smiling.
He won't be smiling for long.
May 30, 2000 hours.
A warm night on The Investigator's street in Chagrin Falls. This time, there's nowhere for him to hide.
I ring the doorbell. His wife -- at least the Chagrin Falls version -- answers. She calls for The Investigator.
Meyer comes to the door in an untucked dress shirt, black slacks, and familiar black shoes. The same kind Stalin used to wear. He steps onto the porch, as if he knows the jig is up. It was only a matter of time.
With an audio recorder hidden in my pocket, I press for answers.
"You busted Zack Reed for partying," I tell Meyer. "But my sources say you've been doing your fair share of getting down."
"Me?" he asks. "Me? You got the wrong guy."
He laughs. It's the nervous laughter of guilt. "This is a hoot."
But it's no laughing matter. I tell him about Jlynn, the stripper who's met plenty of Toms over the years.
"I've never been to a strip club," Meyer says. "What kind of place are you talking about?"
"Never in my life have I been there."
But Meyer knows he's caught. He suddenly changes his story. "If I've been there, it's been as a reporter. Oh! I was there as a reporter. Doing a story!"
Unless the story was about his addiction to strippers and crystal meth, Meyer knows his pack of lies won't fly with this reporter.
"Do you know Bounce Nightclub?" I ask.
"Sure you don't."
"No," Meyer says, "I really don't."
I explain that I saw shoes exactly like his underneath a stall in the bathroom. "Are you saying those weren't your shoes?"
"Never been there," Meyer says. His breath smells of lamb chops and lies. "Never . . . I don't know where this is coming from."
Meyer is laughing again, probably because he's stoned. But he sobers right up when I ask about his bunting.
"Your neighbors all have bunting," I say. "You don't. Are you a patriot?"
"Of course I am," Meyer says, sheepishly eyeing his buntingless house. "I just don't have bunting."
Meyer realizes he's caught. He tries to turn on the charm, inviting me to sit on his porch. He introduces me to his dog, Riley, named after communist rapper Boots Riley. He even invokes his children, who are unaware of his second family in Strongsville.
"I'm a pretty conservative guy when it comes to the night life," Meyer says. "My kids will tell you that they ride me all the time because I'm usually in bed by 11 o'clock."
But his kids have also seen him working in the trees behind his house. Do they know he was burying a pretty teenage girl?
"We cleared out our backyard so the kids would have space to play," Meyer claims.
But what about the dense trees beyond the backyard?
"That's another development," he says.
Yes, it is -- a development in the biggest story since Laci Peterson. But there's no use in pressing for answers with someone who's not interested in the truth. I change subjects, asking Meyer about his double life. His other family in Strongsville.
"Oh my gosh," The Investigator says. "No!"
I explain that I have proof -- a listing in the phone book of a man named Tom Meyer. "You're saying that's not you?" I ask.
"I don't know who he is," Meyer says. "Is there really? Same spelling and everything?"
Same spelling and everything, Mr. The Investigator.
"I have no idea who he is. Does he know me?"
Of course, the man in Strongsville doesn't know Tom Meyer. He is Tom Meyer.
The Investigator is losing control, and he knows it. He invites his wife onto the porch, an apparent ploy to halt the searing line of questions. Then, suddenly, he changes his tune.
"I'm a playboy reporter, baby," Meyer tells his wife, 'fessing up to years of indiscretion under the pressure of our special investigation. "Did you know that?"
He's smiling oddly, like the whole thing is a joke. It's a common defense mechanism employed by men on the brink of a long, hard fall from investigative grace.
"I didn't know that," Mrs. The Investigator says, looking confused.
"He is," I say.
Meyer looks strangely giddy. The weight of the truth is clearly fatiguing him. "I go to Bounce Nightclub!" he tells his wife.
His wife shakes her head. So do I. No one wants to take down a legend. But this time, The Investigator took down himself -- while putting us all at risk.
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