Council could vote on city manager severance today; development authority scuttles FCC meeting; former UC volleyball player sues school; more news

It's going to be a fun day in Cincinnati City Council, where it seems there still aren't enough votes to approve a severance for the city manager.

click to enlarge Cincinnati City Hall - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati City Hall

Hello, Cincy. We’ll be partying tonight for our Best of Cincinnati celebration. It’s gonna be a blast and I’ll probably wear a tie. That’ll be weird.

Ok. News. So, is there still drama at City Hall? Let me check… yes.

Yesterday Cincinnati City Councilman Wendell Young released a statement saying he has filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s office against Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley for attempted bribery. Young says that Cranley recently called him regarding the current impasse over City Manager Harry Black and asked what Young wanted from him in order to vote for a $423,000 settlement for the city manager. Cranley wants Black gone, alleging the city manager has behaved unprofessionally and intimidated employees. Currently, Black and Cranley have agreed on the settlement, but it will take five members of council to approve it. The votes aren’t there at this point.

“This call troubled me greatly as I have worked in law enforcement and felt that there was something wrong with his offer. Yesterday, I called the Ohio Ethics Commission about the call. After waiting for 10 minutes, the investigator suggested that I go to law enforcement — not the Ethics Commission — as he felt there is a potential bribery case against the Mayor,” Young wrote in a statement.

It’s unclear if there is more to the scenario, which, as described in Young’s statement, doesn’t involve money or other elements that would make it a bribe offer. Young has said he won’t speak further about the complaint until authorities weigh in.

Cranley has fired back, calling the accusation ridiculous.

"Like the other frivolous suit Councilman Young filed against the Mayor ... we’re confident this one will be dismissed," spokeswoman Holly Stutz Smith wrote. "It's disappointing that Councilman Young continues to put his personal animosity and political agenda ahead of doing what is best for the city."

Cincinnati City Council is set to vote on Black’s settlement today. That should be fun. Five Democrats on council have refused to sign off on the deal, saying taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for Cranley and Black’s personality disputes.

• The Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority scuttled a meeting with FC Cincinnati yesterday over public help for a soccer stadium in Oakley. Authority head and former mayor Charlie Luken says the team doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about the site. Luken expressed concerns that any deal the authority cuts with the team could be used as “leverage” as FCC continues to explore the West End and Newport. The Redevelopment Authority could help the team avoid property taxes by taking ownership of the stadium and leasing it back to the team, but that will require FCC making a decision about where it wants to put the stadium first, Luken says.

• Former University of Cincinnati volleyball player Shalom Ifeanyi is suing the school, her former coach and one of the school’s athletic directors after she was kicked off the team for posting a photo of herself in a tank top on social media. The federal lawsuit, filed March 20, alleges that Ifeanyi was “shamed” by coach Molly Alvey, who ordered her to take an Instagram selfie down because it was “too sexy.” Ifeanyi complied, but pointed out in a text that other, lighter-skinned teammates with slighter builds had posted photos of themselves in more revealing outfits, including two-piece swimsuits. Alvey terminated Ifeanyi’s spot on the team, which came with a scholarship, eight days later, citing “different philosophies” between the two. Ifeanyi was allowed to keep the scholarship for the rest of the academic year last year, but it was revoked after that time. That, she said, forced her to switch schools, disrupting her education.

• Xavier University men’s basketball coach Chris Mack will depart XU to take the top spot at University of Louisville, he confirmed yesterday. Mack started as a student at XU in 1990 and returned to be an assistant coach in 2004. He’s been head coach since 2009.

• So, if you thought recent campaigns (let’s say the Democrat and Republican gubernatorial primaries, for instance) have been wild, you haven’t seen anything yet. Ohio State Rep. Rick Perales of Beavercreek, a Republican, is being challenged in the party's primary by Jocelyn Smith, who says Perales kissed and choked her without consent in 2015. Perales, meanwhile, acknowledges exchanging sexually charged texts with Smith, but denies he sexually assaulted her. Dear lord.

• Finally, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is walking back comments his campaign made calling his gubernatorial primary candidate, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a criminal. “Hey @MaryTaylorOH! When you abuse your power and fly around on a state plane for personal use, it’s not conservative — it’s criminal. #OHGov #LockHerUp #RINO” DeWine’s campaign tweeted last Wednesday from a new account called @MaryDoesntWork. The tweet was deleted yesterday and DeWine has said that his team should not have sent it. A television ad blasting Taylor for having a state plane go out of its way to drop her off at an airport near her house three times several years ago continues to run, however. Taylor paid roughly $1,000 to the state in 2011 over those trips.

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