Why are some Cleveland buildings named after convicted crooks?

Why are some Cleveland buildings named after convicted crooks?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Clevelanders seem to love naming buildings after people, but are we always naming them after the right people?

The Cleveland skyline is dotted with buildings carrying the names of prominent citizens. There is the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Office Building. There's the Mayor Frank Lausche State Office Building. A wing of the Cleveland Public Library carries former Congressman Louis Stokes' name. The Federal Courthouse is named after Mayor Carl Stokes. Former Senator Howard Metzenbaum's name is on Federal Bankruptcy Court. Former Mayor, Governor and Senator George Voinovich has the lakefront park on East 9th Street. These are all people who have earned a place in our town's history.

Then there are the question marks. Former Sheriff Gerald McFaul had a portion of West 3rd Street renamed Sheriff Gerald T. McFaul Road. After he resigned and pleaded to criminal charges, the sign quickly disappeared.

The same holds true for Jimmy Dimora. The Bedford Heights Community Center was named for him. After his conviction, the public voted to remove his name. The day after the election, it was gone.

One street that makes you wonder why it still carries her name is Claire Freeman Lane. She is the former executive director of Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. Freemen was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from CMHA. More than 13 years later, we still honor her with a street named after her.

A new case is on the horizon with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former CEO of Cleveland Schools. She has pleaded guilty to stealing from Chicago Schools, as well. Here in Cleveland, a training center is named for her and there are no immediate plans to remove her name. The district hasn't used it in more than a year, but when we visited it, maintenance crews were working on plumbing and landscaping, spending money on a vacant building. But that's another story.

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