LINNDALE, OH (WOIO) - Linndale is the village best known for its speed traps, pulling in a lot of cash from ticketing drivers on roads around the tiny town. Now, how the money is being spent is starting to raise a lot of questions.
In July, Cleveland 19 News did an investigation into the residency of Linndale Mayor Ashlee McLaughlin, finding that she spends little or no time in the city, despite the fact that the Linndale charter says the Mayor must be a Village resident "throughout his or her term of office." Water records show long periods of time when no water was used at her Linndale home, sometimes for months at a time.
McLaughlin admitted that she spends a lot of time at the Cleveland home of her boyfriend Andy Baker, who she had appointed Village Prosecutor of Linndale, a part time job which pays $15,500 a year, plus other hourly rates.
Now, Cleveland 19 is raising questions about Andy Baker's residency, which Councilman Tyler Newark questioned he and McLaughlin about at a June 7th Village Council meeting. Although there is nothing in the Linndale charter that says the Village Prosecutor needs to live in the Village, Baker's voter registration address in the city might indicate fraud.
"Does Andy live in the Village of Linndale?" Newark asked.
"I don't know," McLaughlin responded.
"Have you voted here?" Newark asked Baker. Baker answered yes.
When Newark asked again if he lived there, he answered twice, "My registered address is here, yes."
Cleveland 19 checked records at the Board of Elections and found that, since 2013, Paul Andrew Baker, or Andy, was registered to vote at McLaughlin's address on the Avenue of Peace in Linndale. Three days after the Village Council exchange with Newark, Baker changed his voting address back to his Cleveland residency.
Baker had no comment when Cleveland 19 asked him about the address change.
The Secretary of State oversees elections, but told us the local Board of Elections or the County Prosecutor would have jurisdiction in a situation like this.
Cleveland 19 also found more controversy at the mayor's home, with surveillance video showing that the Village Service Director has been working on electrical lines to the home recently. A log at Village Hall shows that he was on the job with the Village at the time, with McLaughlin's address listed as his job site. Should he be working on the Mayors home while being paid by the Village's taxpayers? It is just another in a long list of questions about questionable practices in Linndale.
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