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Euclid City Councilman involved in operating an illegal after hours club that was the scene of a 2020 murder

Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 6:08 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 Investigates uncovered a paper trail connecting Euclid City Councilman to an “illegal establishment” police say has been operating for years in Cleveland.

The city leader was caught on camera at the “known after hours club” off Woodhill Road the night of an unsolved murder in October.

19 News told you when a young mother was shot and killed at the club in October.

We obtained video of Euclid City Councilman Marcus Epps carrying another shooting victim out of the illegal night club that night.

In newly released body camera footage, police say it’s his voice you can hear talking to officers inside the establishment. It’s blacked out however, because officers are inside and the building is considered private property.

“It’s a crime scene,” an officer says. “Who’s house is this?”

The man says, “I have the lease to the place.”

A source sent 19 Investigates a copy of a 2020 lease for 2904 Woodhill road.

Court records show the state foreclosed on the property three years ago, but the former owner is still making $1000 a month renting the building out to the “OFC group.”

According to an article in the News Herald, Euclid Councilman Marcus Epps lists his employer as the OFC group.

We compared the signature on the Woodhill Road lease, to Epps’s signature on his campaign finance statement on file with the state. They appear to match.

The OFC Group’s business license on file with the state lists Taryn Lindsey as the owner.

According to court records, Lindsey and Epps have worked together for years. In fact, she’s listed as his deputy treasurer on the campaign statement.

We went to the building on Lorain Ave is listed as the OFC group’s business address to see if anyone here could talk to us about the Woodhill road property. But, no one came to the door.

In the police report from the night of the murder, officers say Lindsey told them she was “hosting a birthday party.”

The city of Cleveland did not release that portion of the body camera footage to us, but officers write that Lindsey was “very evasive” in their questioning.

19 Investigates called the number listed for the tenant in the lease.

The person who answered said she’d never lived at the Woodhill Road property, before she hung up on us.

We found the Euclid City Hall closed due to pandemic, when we went to find Epps for comment.

We’d also called him and left a message, but we never got a call back.

Epps sits on the Euclid council’s safety committee.

“I introduced legislation to try to address the issues we deal with crime in respect to absentee land lords,” he said in a meeting Wednesday night.

After he stopped responding to our emails, Investigator Hannah Catlett confronted him in Wednesday night’s safety committee meeting on Zoom.

However, when she began to talk, Epps interrupted, saying Catlett was not going to ask him questions having to do with the meeting.

The meeting chairperson and the law director did not even listen to Catlett’s full question before removing her from the virtual meeting.

Darnella Wilson is the woman Epps carried out of the club she told us she’d paid $20 to get in the night of the shooting.

She and her mother have now been asking for months, why is no one’s being held accountable for what’s been going on at the Woodhill Road property?

In January, the city of Cleveland told 19 investigates that plans were in the works to condemn the building and demolish it. But, here we are months later, and the building still stands.

Ken Johnson is the Cleveland councilman over the ward where the club sits.

We went to him last fall when we discovered the illegal activity.

“No, I had no idea,” Johnson said.

After Johnson was indicted on separate, unrelated federal fraud charges last month, residents remain wondering who is fighting for them in this issue once again.

Officers have not named any suspects in the October 2020 murder. If you have any information, call police.

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