EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - East Cleveland City Council Vice President Ernest Smith was arrested Tuesday night on a charge of unlawfully selling of alcohol out of a property on Euclid Avenue. According to sources, there may have been more illegal activity going on inside of the building.
“I think it’s sad. Our neighborhood and our community definitely needs role models that gonna uphold our community,” said community activist, Juanita Gowdy.
Gowdy claims Councilman Smith definitely isn’t “that” role model after he was arrested because of some of the things seen in a cell phone video captured inside of the O.P.N. (Oppressed People Nation), a venue leased by Smith himself.
“I don’t know who gave him the authority and license to do that,” said Gowdy.
Rumors circulated that there were underage exotic dancers in the venue for what was supposed to be a back-to-school fundraiser, which is something Smith has strongly denied on his Facebook video.
“We have events there all the time. There were no under-aged females in the spot. I didn’t get charged with a bunch of felonies or anything like that. I got a very small misdemeanor for and 'I' that wasn’t dotted and a 'T' that wasn’t crossed,” recalled Smith.
The councilman insists his arrest was made because of the lack of a liquor license and that the event was mainly associated with a partner who organized the gathering.
“Yes I had a partnership party. Anyone who knows me knows it was to raise funds for these back-to-school events,”
Regardless, Gowdy wants a judge and prosecutor outside of East Cleveland to handle the case and investigation.
“Earnest Smith told us that if he did anything wrong in the community to hold him accountable. That’s why I’m here, to hold him accountable,” concluded Gowdy.
19 News is still waiting on an official police report from East Cleveland detailing what exactly happened there the night Councilman Smith was arrested. However smith himself will be addressing these allegations later at Thursday’s city council meeting, taking place at 6:30 p.m.