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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cuyahoga County Intends to Contract With New State Lobbying Firm, Which Includes Dean DePiero, Longtime Ally of Bill Mason

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 4:40 PM

  • Dean DePiero, City of Aurora

Cuyahoga County intends to contract with the law firm of McDonald Hopkins for statewide lobbying, two sources with knowledge of the plans tell Scene. Reached for comment, county spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan would only say, "A contract has not been signed."

Coincidentally, or not, the public law/lobbying division of the firm includes Dean DePiero, the law director for Aurora, former mayor of Parma, and longtime personal friend and political ally of Bill Mason.

Bill Mason's appointment as chief of staff to Armond Budish was announced last week. He will officially start the job in July.

There may be very good and varied reasons for which the county would make the move on from Benesch, which had been contracted for lobbying previously, and there may be very good and varied reasons why the county believes McDonald Hopkins is better suited for the role, but the optics here are bad and undeniable. Of course, it could also switch course, but that doesn't appear to be the case. (A source said the contract would be finalized early next week.)

While some believed that Mason had outgrown an entire career based on patronage and rewarding political allies and friends with jobs, others cautioned that it was a track record too strong to ignore.

This news, coming a week after the announcement Mason would be joining Armond Budish's administration, is evidence that one side of that debate was likely correct.

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