CLEVELAND - Just a few weeks ago, former Cleveland Mayor Michael White publicly assured the new Campbell administration that it was being left with a nearly $12 million surplus, but on Monday, 19/43 News found out that Campbell's accountants have been unable to find the money, and have determined that the city could instead be in massive debt.
In an exclusive report, 19/43 News' Ed Gallek tracked down the former mayor at his Cleveland home on Monday, and asked him where the money is located. White (pictured, above) refused to answer any of Gallek's questions, and escorted the 19/43 News crew off of his property.
- Gallek: "How are you doing?"
White: "It's time to get off my property."
Gallek: "OK, Mayor White. We'll be glad to leave. We just want to ask you a question."
City Hall sources told 19/43 News that White's administration left the books in such a mess that the city budget could be as much as $56 million in the hole. The deficit could mean that bumpy streets might not get paved, a new class of police officers might not get hired to protect you and other services might get cut. City workers might get laid off, as well.
"It's terrible," taxpayer Marty Blase said. "It's not right. It should've never happened."
Cleveland taxpayers, including Blase, said that they want answers. In its quest to give the people what they wanted, 19/43 News went to the home of White's last finance director, but she stormed off without answering any questions.
Then, it was off to White's home. City leaders told 19/43 News that the former mayor was on vacation in Hawaii, but someone was spotted moving inside the house. After four minutes of waiting at the door, a furious White opened it.
White: "You're on private property. I'm not a public official. Get off my property."
White: "Stay on the pavement."
Gallek: "Will you still answer some questions for us about the budget?"
White: "On the sidewalk."
Gallek: "What happened to that $11 million surplus?"
White: "Stay on the sidewalk."
Gallek: "Why won't you answer the question?"
White: "I'm not an elected official."
Gallek: "You were. What happened to the money you said we had?"