Former Mayor Finally Fires Back About Budget

CLEVELAND – After days trying to get some answers, which included a scene outside of the former mayor's residence, Michael White (pictured, right) finally fired back about the city's money mess on Wednesday, 19/43 News' Ed Gallek reported.

The new finance director under new Mayor Jane Campbell told 19/43 News on Wednesday that she still can't straighten out the city's books. White, however, said that were fine when he left office, and he doesn't want to be bothered with any more questions about the matter since he's no longer a public official.

The former mayor walked into a room filled with reporters and smiled. He had obviously cooled off since the exchange with a 19/43 News crew outside of his home on Monday night.

White said that he called the news conference to tell reporters not to bother him. He said that he's out of office, so reporters should stop asking him questions about the budget and anything else.

He also insisted that when he left office, the city had an extra $11 million to carry over into the new budget. Plus, a $16 million rainy day fund.

Earlier in the week, Campbell said that the city could end up as much as $56 million in debt without big cuts. White said that he can't understand how things could change that much.

19/43 News had former safety director Bill Denihan watch the news conference. Denihan said that what struck him was how White stuck to the claim of $11 million being left over, but he didn't explain in any detail how his people came up with that figure.

Following White's comments, Campbell told 19/43 News that she's certain that White believed the budget was sound.

"I believe him when he says he believed his folks when they told him there was a surplus," Campbell said. "We couldn't find that documentation."

The Campbell administration will now try to fill the gaping hole in the budget by cutbacks and unspent funds, but Campbell said that she would try to avoid a tax increase.