Video shows East Cleveland mayor drinking alcohol, smoking on city property
“City Hall is not his personal club,” an East Cleveland employee said on Thursday.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More drama is brewing in East Cleveland where the mayor was recently caught on camera drinking alcohol on city property.
19 Investigates obtained video of Mayor Brandon King inside a city garage with city employees present.
The video, filmed on a Friday night in late July, shows Mayor King drinking and smoking a cigar while sitting a table topped with several bottles of liquor and beer.
According to the City of East Cleveland’s employee handbook, the “unauthorized use” of alcohol on city premises is prohibited.
The employee handbook also states, “Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products are prohibited in all facilities, vehicles and all off-site City meetings and programs.” Signs posted on the exterior of East Cleveland City Hall state, “No smoking within 25′ of building.” Ohio’s Smoke Free Workplace Act, which was implemented in 2006, also requires places of employment and public places to be smoke free.
Mayor Brandon King released a written statement in response to the video on Thursday.
In the part relevant to the allegations of his conduct, the mayor wrote, “So, if I want to wind down a 6- or 7-day work week by having a Guinness Stout (not beer) and smoking a cigar in the garage, after hours, with staff, residents and stake holders and discuss the disfunction of our legislative body or the revitalization opportunities that are before us or international politics, no policy or media outlet is going to stop me.”
“City Hall is not his personal club,” said Justyn Anderson, Deputy Clerk of Council for East Cleveland. “It’s not about repercussions. It’s about doing what is right.”
Anderson said, “It’s devastating what’s in the video. Our city leader, the mayor, is on camera drinking and smoking in our city hall.”
“I am devastated and something needs to be done and he needs to be held accountable,” said East Cleveland City Council President Juanita Gowdy.
She plans on introducing legislation to address what she sees as a misuse of city property.
“You should be working, grinding, getting these city problems taken care of,” said Ward 3 council member Lateek Shabazz
“This type of behavior should not be allowed anywhere, and that’s why it’s important for me to let the residents know and the viewers that this can not be tolerated,” Anderson said.
This is just the latest in a string of controversial incidents involving East Cleveland city employees.
Within the last two years, 18 East Cleveland police officers have been been indicted for various crimes, including some charged with stealing from people while on duty, felonious assault, and accepting bribes.
19 News has requested a comment from the other city employees seen in the video.
When reached by phone, one gentleman hung up. We have not yet heard back from the others.
Read the entire statement from Mayor Brandon King:
“For the record, I’m working at city hall 6 to 7 days a week every week unless I’m on vacation. I also work most holidays. I manage the day to day, I build and manage the relationships with our partners such as Cuyahoga Land Bank, State of Ohio and the 5 state departments operating in the city today. I manage the relationships with RTA, Cuyahoga County, OHM, Phoenix investments(owners of Nela Park) Genesis( owners of BDD building) and the list goes on. I source and spec all city heavy equipment, fire trucks, ambulances, skid steer, front end loaders, tractors, riding mowers, service vehicles, housing vehicles, salt trucks, etc.
I also do what most mayors in Ohio don’t do. I do plumbing work in city hall, carpentry, flooring, painting and just last week operated the John Deere tractor to cut 7 acres of the former Huron Road hospital site.
Most of all I deal with the most disrespectful, uneducated, unorganized, illogical city council in the history of the city. I must reassure the very partners I referenced above, that their investment in the city will not be destroyed by this council and its volunteers.
So, if I want to wind down a 6- or 7-day work week by having a Guinness Stout (not beer) and smoking a cigar in the garage, after hours, with staff, residents and stake holders and discuss the disfunction of our legislative body or the revitalization opportunities that are before us or international politics, no policy or media outlet is going to stop me.”
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