Mark Dottore has a history of plucking clean the carcasses of dying businesses
Hostile takeovers are usually reserved for big business, but not in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas is a party to a hostile takeover, with its most recent victim being Myers University.
With Mark Dottore as special master, “hostile” and “takeover” are quite literal. Judge Gaul spoke to Myers University students, faculty, and staff on February 28 and reiterated that he and Dottore are running the university. The next day, they lay off more employees, and they aren’t done yet...
Judge Gaul is an appropriate name, because he had the gall to give a “State of Myers” address the day before letting go nearly a dozen people, with more layoffs to come. His grand speech to calm the fears of the faculty, staff, and students was an utter lie.
His speech talked about how the school was still trouble but there were 9 potential investors, 5 of whom were serious. Judge Gaul was asked about Daniel Ho and David Lee, and if they were still in the running. None of the employees had seen Ho and Lee for weeks after their meeting with faculty and staff. Judge Gaul stated that Ho and Lee are tied up in a series of lawsuits and failed to meet the financial obligations.
This is exactly the same information the Dr. Richard Scaldini told the judge in December. Instead of Scaldini being taken seriously, Gaul publicly scolded him and called him names. Gaul found this to be an opportunity to have more press conferences and be more visible, since his seat is up for election next year. And what better way is it to ensure more contributions to your campaign than to appoint the Dottores as receivers, knowing that they have a history of lining their pockets by devastating already financially strapped companies?
Judge Gaul also stated that the university would not be allowed to admit any new students. This is done despite the fact that there are a number of new students who completed their admissions applications and financial aid and have not been told that the university will not admit any new students. These potential students paid application fees and paid for their transcripts to be sent to Myers. They are expecting to start classes March 10th and have not even been told that they will not be admitted.
If the problem of the school is low enrollment and cash flow, why would the judge prevent new students from being admitted? If there really are potential buyers, why would anyone buy a school that won’t admit new students?
He also stated that the Interim President Joyce Banjac, who resigned February 29, would be staying on as interim president. He praised her and Dottore for their work in keeping the university open and running. The next day they laid off 8 people, with more to be laid off on Monday.
Several workers were told that they are to meet in the conference room at an appointed time. Charlie Dottore did not appear at the scheduled time. After being 45 minutes late, Charlie Dottore walks in with a cigar in hand to give people the axe. He walks in with a celebratory cigar while he ruins other peoples’ lives.
As he was letting people go for “financial reasons,” he and his brothers pad their own bank accounts to the tune of $50,000 a month for their “supposed” work on behalf of the court and Myers University. What’s more is that they were already written a big fat check by Daniel Ho and company of a quarter million dollars for their first two months at Myers University.
How is it that the Dottores’ spend less time at Myers than the part-time faculty and get paid more a month than 2 worker’s yearly salaries? How is that justifiable by Judge Gaul? I’m sure the large campaign contributions by the Dottores to Judge Gaul’s campaign make anything justifiable.
Just look at how Mark Dottore’s past contributions to Governor Bob Taft’s campaign garnered him two appointments to the State Lottery Commission. His contributions to Domestic Relations Court Judge James Celebrezze gave Mark Dottore an appointment as receiver of a 10-building apartment complex.
It is formula that has worked for him in the past, and it continues to work for him now. The old adage, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, has never been truer than with the Dottores and their connection to politicians.
The Dottores are quite simply liquidators. They make hundreds of thousands off of business that are struggling to survive. If Judge Daniel Gaul really wanted to “save” Myers University, then why would he allow such exorbitant salaries for the Dottores while nearly a dozen more dedicated staff members now have no way to pay their mortgages, bills, and support themselves and their families?
The Dottores will bleed the school dry while blowing smoke about potential buyers. The potential buyers are people that even Judge Gaul said Mark Dottore found. It’s all another ploy to extend the cash flow into their own deep pockets. Does he think that anyone believes that there really are potential buyers willing to take on over 12 million dollars of debt, a horrible reputation, incredible low enrollment with no new students being allowed in?
Cleveland is the poorest city in the country, has a rash of unemployment, and this is the reason why.