Morning Headlines: Cleveland Hires Former Judge Who Beat Wife; Islamic Society Condemns NYC Attack

Nov 2, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, November 2nd:

  • Local Islamic Society condemns NYC attack;
  • Cleveland hires an ex-judge convicted of beating his wife;
  • National initiative aims to expand basic financial services for Akron residents;
  • NOACA and cleveland.com battle over access to Amazon HQ bid information;
  • CSU says a memo sent after hate fliers were discovered was about something else;
  • New documents shed light on harassment claims against Ohio lawmakers;
  • Cleveland Museum of Art unveils ambitious 10-year plan to boost attendance and grow collection;
  • OSU establishes center to study legal aspects of illegal drug use;
  • Down syndrome abortion ban passes Ohio House;

Islamic Society of Akron and kent condemns NYC attack
The Islamic Society of Akron and Kent is condemning this week’s attack in lower Manhattan that left eight people dead. The group says suspect Sayufollo Saipov, 29, likely attended its open services in the past, but was never a member. Saipov previously lived in Cuyahoga Falls and Stow. Public records show Saipov was married in Cuyahoga Falls in 2013. The wedding was not performed at the Islamic Society according to the group’s president.

Cleveland hires an ex-judge convicted of beating his wife
A former Cuyahoga County common pleas judge who did time for beating his wife has been given a job in Cleveland’s city government. Lance Mason was convicted in 2014 of punching his then-wife 20 times while their children watched from the back seat of their car. Mason pleaded guilty to attempted felonious assault and domestic violence in 2015 and was imprisoned for less than a year. He was one of 16 applicants for a job in the city’s Office of Equal Opportunity. The office’s director says Mason was “the most qualified candidate” for the job, which pays a $45,000-a-year salary. Cleveland.com reports Mason was the only candidate who holds a law degree. A state board is trying to have Mason permanently disbarred.

National initiative aims to expand basic financial services for Akron residents
A national program to expand access to basic financial services is coming to Akron. The Bank On initiative is giving $90,000 to the city of Akron and United Way of Summit County to hire a full-time coordinator for the program. Bank On works with local governments to provide access to checking and savings accounts. The program also offers alternatives to costly and sometimes predatory services like payday loans and check cashing. About 13 percent of Akron households do not have bank accounts.

NOACA and local media disagree over access to Amazon HQ bid information
Cleveland.com and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency – or NOACA – are in a dispute over what constitutes a trade secret. Cleveland.com says it recently requested information that NOACA gathered for Team NEO, the nonprofit leading the region’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. But an attorney for NOACA says that information is protected under Ohio law as a trade secret. A First Amendment attorney based in Cleveland says the trade secret exemption does not apply. Cleveland.com has filed a complaint in the Ohio Court of Claims.

CSU says a memo sent after hate fliers were discovered was about something else
Cleveland State University is now saying that a controversial memo sent after offensive fliers were found on campus was about a different incident. The memo said the university was committed to upholding free speech on its campus. The fliers found by a faculty member urged LGBTQ students to commit suicide. CSU now says its original memo was about an appearance by a conservative speaker, not the fliers. The university did not attempt to clarify the alleged misunderstanding during multiple meetings and protests.

New documents shed light on harassment claims against Ohio lawmakers
Newly released documents show that three more state lawmakers in Ohio were disciplined over harassment claims in recent years and an aide was terminated in a separate harassment case. Records released Wednesday by House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger follow the October resignation of state Sen. Cliff Hite. The northwest Ohio Republican acknowledged having inappropriate conversations and physical contact with a female legislative intern. The latest records reveal that one Republican and two Democratic lawmakers in the House were subjected to separate independent reviews over harassment allegations. One complaint reported an offensive comment at a social function and one lawmaker's aide said she engaged in age discrimination. The third lawmaker's case produced no written records. Discipline included removal from committees and required anti-harassment training. Leaders said all harassment claims are taken seriously.

Cleveland Museum of Art unveils ambitious 10-year plan to boost attendance and grow its collection
The Cleveland Museum of Art is releasing a plan for the next decade that includes increasing attendance, expanding its endowment and acquiring $1 billion worth of art through purchases and gifts. The museum also wants to begin creating a new art history institute. The museum director tells The Plain Dealer that the long-range plans introduced Wednesday are ambitious and the museum's focus on serving the public will increase. A new fundraising campaign will help fund some of the plans. The museum also wants to increase revenue from membership and annual giving. The Cleveland Museum of Art recently completed a $320 million expansion and renovation project. One goal is to increase attendance to 1 million a year from the current average of just over 600,000.

OSU establishes center to study legal aspects of illegal drug use
Ohio State University has announced the creation of a center to study the societal impacts of the country's drug war. The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center is being established with a $4.5 million gift from the Charles Koch Foundation. The center is based in the Ohio State law school and will tap experts from across the university, including the College of Social Work and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The university says the center will examine changes to law that prohibit or regulate the use and distribution of illegal drugs. Ohio State law professor Douglas Berman will be the executive director.

Down syndrome abortion ban passes Ohio House
The Ohio House has approved a bill banning abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. The bill before lawmakers on Wednesday would subject doctors who perform abortions in such cases to criminal penalties and the potential loss of their medical licenses. House Bill 214 now goes to the state Senate. Also Wednesday, House hearings began again on the so-called Heartbeat Bill that would ban abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.