Councilman Cimperman faces ethical questions

6:37 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Is it an October surprise from an underdog political opponent? Or is it a legitimate question about Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman's voting record?

Carrie Kurutz, Cimperman's main opponent in November for Ward 3 Council's seat, is raising the issue less than three weeks before the election.

She says," It's all in the public record." And Cimperman is treating it seriously.

The issue? Is it an ethical or legal issue for Cimperman to vote for contracts that benefit the non-profit design firm that employs his wife Nora Romanoff as senior project director?

Cimperman said, "I believe in my heart of hearts I didn't do anything wrong."

But Ohio law says public officials cannot use their influence or votes to benefit their family members.

Land Studio's and its predcessor entity, ParkWorks, received millions in city contracts. It's been involved with redoing Ralph Perk Plaza.

It's a big part of proposed plans to remake Cleveland green spaces,  including Public Square and parks downtown.

Cimperman both sponsored and voted for emergency, no-bid measures to award  contracts.

Cimperman recused himself from some votes. Cimperman was unable to explain why he voted on some measures and did not on others.

He said he is presently dealing with the city law department to answer questions and review his record.

Political insiders claim the Ohio Ethics Commission is looking into Cimperman's record.

The commission chairman said he could neither confirm or deny that.

Cimperman said, "There's a lot of legal and ethical issues....This is clearly about me and my voting record."

He married his wife in 2006. He is upset that the issues have put her in the spotlight.


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