Judge Shoots Down Lawsuit Against East Cleveland City Council

East Cleveland City Hall
East Cleveland City Hall
This week, a Cuyahoga County judge ruled against Michael Smedley, the East Cleveland mayoral aide who sued East Cleveland City Council over its refusal to begin the annexation process with the city of Cleveland. 

Smedley sought a court order to compel members of council to approve an ordinance that would declare an intent to "enter into negotiations for annexation." (Note that the current makeup of East Cleveland City Council is different than the named defendants in Smedley's suit.)

The argument in Smedley's lawsuit cited 827 certified signatures from East Cleveland voters, which signified a "sufficient number" of residents in favor of the annexation process. Those signatures — and the certification process — didn't pass the smell test in this suit, according to Judge Michael Russo.

The judge ruled against Smedley's complaint this week, writing: "It appears beyond doubt that [Smedley] cannot prove any set of facts entitling [Smedley] to the requested relief. Specifically, the certification from the board of elections required by R.C. 709.24 is insufficient as a matter of law since it fails to include the total number of electors who voted in the last regular municipal election in East Cleveland in 2013." (Signatures on a given petition must come from electors who voted in the most recent municipal election.)

Scene is picking up rumors, though, that another petition is being circulated within East Cleveland. We'll be following up on that. 

The discussion of an East Cleveland-Cleveland merger — or an annexation — has gone on for years. Just last week, though, State Auditor David Yost fired up the chatter yet again by proposing a $10-million appropriation to pay for East Cleveland improvements — but only if the merger takes place.