Cuy. County Corruption deja vu: Darcy cartoon
Cuy. County Corruption deja vu: Darcy cartoon
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- As Yogi Berra, Jimmy Dimora, Frank Russo and Roger Stone might say, it’s looking like deja vu all over again at the Cuyahoga County administration offices.
Thursday, agents from the FBI and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) executed a search warrant on the offices of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, as part on an ongoing corruption investigation into his administration.
In my opinion, Budish’s response to the surprise search came off sounding like President Trump and Roger Stone, stopping short of calling it a “Witch Hunt,” but suggesting it was politically motivated and unnecessary.
We can only hope a search of Budish’s back doesn’t turn up a tattoo of Jimmy Dimora, like Stone’s back depicting Richard Nixon
Budish subpoena extension request could have prompted search.
The search appears to be related to the latest of 17 subpoenas corruption investigators have served on the Budish administration.
Wednesday, it was made public that Budish had been served a subpoena seeking all information related to his email accounts. Those records were supposed to have been turned over to a grand jury by Thursday. But Budish had requested and received a one-day extension.
The search warrant had sought many of the items listed in the subpoena, according to Budish’s attorney Larry Zukerman.
It’s reasonable to speculate that Budish’s extension request stoked concern by investigators that there was a risk that records may be destroyed and that’s why they went in to obtain them the day they were originally supposed to be delivered to the grand jury.
It’s the same reason the FBI went in heavy to arrest Roger Stone, in a surprise early morning action, because they had a legitimate concern that evidence would be destroyed.
Like Budish, Stone complained that the FBI’s surprise raid on his home was unnecessary and overdone.
After their 4hr search of Budish’s offices, agents left with two computers, five boxes of material and Budish’s cell phone, for which he provided the password.
“All they would’ve had to do was ask us for anything they wanted and we would’ve have given it to them,” claimed Budish.
Obviously, investigators did not believe that was the case, or they would not have been granted a search warrant and have executed it in surprise joint agency action.
Budish turns Trumpian.
In an exclusive interview with Cleveland.com reporter Courtney Astolfi, Budish defended himself and blasted the search.
“I’ve worked my entire life to build a reputation for integrity and honesty and I will be damned if I will let a political attack destroy that.
Astolfi reports, “Budish also said he would be damned if he would let a political attack interfere with the work that the administration does for Cuyahoga County residents.”
Budish seems to be implying the search was politically motivated by newly-elected Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
The Budish subpoena was the first issued by Yost since the investigation was turned over to his office by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley. O’Malley had to recuse himself because as County Prosecutor he has to defend Budish in civil suits relating to deplorable conditions in the County Jail. However two of O’Malley’s assistants are still involved in the investigation.
As state auditor, Yost was criticized last year for issuing Budish a subpoena over the annual county audit. “The practice is not common as audits are not part of an adversarial process. Auditors and the subjects of those audits work side-by-side and exchange information without the need for subpoenas.,” Cleveland.com reports
While the BCI is a division of Yost’s attorney general’s office, the FBI is not. There has to be just cause for Judge to grant a search warrant, especially in case at this level.
Budish-Democrats double standard.
Budish said he’d be damned if he will let a political attack destroy his reputation. In a formal statement Budish also asserted the search turned the corruption investigation “into a political circus”
A political attack isn’t destroying Budish’s reputation, the indictments of three of his current and former administration officials is damaging his reputation. His failure to place a current indictited official on leave is damaging his reputation. His lethal mismanagement of the County Jail is damaging his reputation.
The FBI that searched Budish’s office is the same FBI investigating the Trump administration and campaign. It’s the same FBI run by Director Chris Wray.
It’s a double standard for Democrats like Budish to defend Wray and the FBI’s investigation of the Trump administration, but then cry foul when they are investigated.
Budish once hosted a show called “Golden Opportunities.” Sadly, his administration is looking more and more like another golden opportunity for county corruption and mismanagement.