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Cleveland Heights City Council Unanimously Approves Millikin Lease Proposal

The city, CH-UH School Board and Mosdos Ohr Hatorah have now all approved the lease proposal, a non-binding agreement that spells out some of the details of a possible lease before the actual document is drafted.

Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously approved a lease proposal for the former Millikin School at its .

The proposal was drafted by lawyers representing Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, the Orthodox Jewish School that has consistently shown interest in the building and offered to purchase it, and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, which owns the property.

The non-binding agreement is meant to spell out some of the details of a possible lease before an actual lease is drafted to make sure all interested parties are on the same page. One of the terms is that the school would be leased to the city, and Cleveland Heights would sublease to Mosdos.

Councilman Jason Stein thanked Mosdos officials and families for "having the vision and determination to persevere the last seven years."

"At times, it appeared that there was no hope to ever have Millikin used as a school again. Yet Mosdos did not abandon Cleveland Heights by relocating the school elsewhere. Mosdos Ohr Hatorah has made a huge commitment to Cleveland Heights, and this Council recognizes that commitment and thanks you," said Stein, whose children attend Mosdos.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board at its regular meeting Aug. 7 at the building. Mosdos signed the agreement as well.

The proposal indicates that Mosdos would need to make the $1.5 million in permanent improvements to the building within the first 18 months of the lease, said Steve Shergalis, director of business services for CH-UH.

The terms would be for 30 years at $1 per year, Shergalis said. There would be two consecutive options to renew for an additional 10 years at market value, and Mosdos would be responsible for all taxes, maintenance, insurance and utilities.

Many of the details won't be confirmed until an actual lease is drafted, such as what exactly the city's responsibilities would be and how the board would determine "market value" should Mosdos want to renew its lease in 30 years, said Alan Rapoport, an attorney representing Mosdos and former Cleveland Heights mayor.

For more details, read our about the Millikin lease proposal.

Maureen Weigand August 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I'm having an issue with making a comment so this is a test.
Maureen Weigand August 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM
OK, this seems to be working now. My comment is this: there is a clear issue here with regard to appearance of conflict of interest. History: I resigned for the BOE when I was the Director of a county department that wanted to provide a grant t the CH-UH BOE for a welfare reform program. I had not participated i the decision making process but was the Director of the department. There was an appearance of conflict of interest and I believed that my choice was my full-time job vs. the BOE. I resigned from the BOE. On the other hand, Mr. Stein appeared at a BOE meeting and demanded more than the usual time to speak because he was a Member of Council. He was more than that. He was a parent of Mosdos children who had an appearance of conflict, since the costs to Mosdos would reflect on his tuition one way or another. Mr. Stein does not need to be worried that some citizen will try to overturn the vote on Mosdos. He does need to worry that his constituents will not be happy with this appearance of conflict and wonder about his honesty. I would be one of those.
Garry Kanter August 22, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Do you have any interest in seeing this issue addressed further?
Susan Efroymson August 23, 2012 at 02:55 PM
As for the red herring of his use of time at the meeting, would it not be appropriately considerate for a council member to be permitted to complete his thoughts at a BOE meeting just as a BOE member would be allowed to do at Council. That would have been good governance. You also neglected to mention that Mayor Kelley was there at the same meeting and did not use his allotted time up - who did the board think that time was to be used for? Lastly, a teacher spoke at the meeting and went well over the time limit but was not interupted. and allowed to proceed. There's a point where using the microscope to comment on every sigh or gesture is simply inane and only serves to stand in the way acheivement. There is a win-win-win here and Councilman Stein advocated for transparency in seeing if it could be acheived. That is his job description. Further, the BOE had a real interest in seeing a good repurposing of the Millikin property. There is now a lot of positive momentum in terms of public/private school/city communication that resulted from this. That spirit is beneficial when generalized over the entire district. Since the Council vote was unanimous, his recusal would have made no difference anyway. There is no financial interest or gain to be accrued through his vote. Would you then suggest that no council member who has a child in the public school system be allowed to vote on any issue affecting Council/BOE involvement?
Garry Kanter August 23, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I don't know who your comment is addressed to, but I stand by every word I said, and only what I said. Your boy behaved badly at the BOE meeting. Denying that doesn't alter that fact at all. There's no provision for "sharing" time. I know that. Jason Stein knows that. You should know that. It would keep you from making silly comments. Everybody is supposed to follow the same rules. And the question of a conflict of interest is valid. Councilperson Caplan identified one. She acted accordingly. We call that "integrity".
Maureen Weigand August 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM
My position on this is based on the concept of "appearance of conflict of interest". A public official has the responsibility to avoid that appearance every time s/he votes on an issue and every time s/he appears in public as a public official. Maintaining a reputation as a person of integrity should be a critical part of ones' life after election or appointment to public office. All of this has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Stein is a nice guy who works hard. His experienced colleagues ought to tutor him on this appearance of conflict of interest issue. They should have told him to abstain. I wouldn't have made a bit of difference in anything. This is the last that you will hear from me on this issue until the next election season.
Susan Efroymson August 24, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Re: the timing at the meeting - my point is simply that Stein only asked for a basic courtesy - one that Council would have extended to the board, and one that the same BOE had no trouble granting other speakers on a different topic - same night. So what's the point? - yes the whole thing became inflated - but in the end, stating the truth about what happened isn't what is silly. Claiming that overunning a time limit is a big deal, and using that to back a claim that this affects his integrity doesn't hold any water. Niether does the claim of conflict. Stein was clear that there was no financial gain, no kickbacks, nor is he or his family is employed by the school, he will make no money from this deal. etc.... He is a resident of the city and utiilzes its resources. Again, should every council member who utilizes a particular store be disallowed from voting on issues partaining to it? How about neighborhoods. Should each member recuse themselves every time an issue comes up that affects their neighborhood. Government is by the people and for the people - it is designed to be a system run by the very people who live there. That was his job and he did it. When one should recuse themselves is clearly defined. And frankly, the vote was 6-0. 5-0 would have made things differend somehow? This is much ado about nothing.
Garry Kanter August 24, 2012 at 08:29 AM
Rules exist. Stein openly disrespected the BOE chair. And grandstanded. (Ed Kelley tells me which way to face when I speak, talk about double standards.) He - in a phone conversation, and you, above, both fabricated that "They let me have Ed Kelley's time" canard. So, I've already known what type of person *he* is, and now we all know what type of person *you* are. And now I know that "The ends justifies the means" is part of your congregation's credo. Funny, I don't remember that one in The Talmud. Here's what I learned: "Do not do onto others as you would not have them do onto you. The rest is explanation. Go forth and learn." - Hillel 5 - 0 with one abstention *is* different than 6 - 0. One of them is above reproach. The other is not.
Garry Kanter August 24, 2012 at 08:33 AM
Oh, and apparently Bonnie Caplan has a different rule book regarding recusals. She set a great example, and that, too, was a unanimous vote. Same night, different topic.
Susan Efroymson August 24, 2012 at 01:29 PM
No Canard, those were Ed Kelley's words at the time. And he was just one of many incredulous at the BOE's inconsistant imposition of the time limit given the request from a council member. But okay. Are you really going to live and die on that hill? Everyone else has moved on into a positive relationship. Enjoying your navel gazing? Context would be helpful too. That happened back when Mosdos and the BOE were talking at each other and not to one another and the only response Mosdos was getting were public statements accusing them of lowballing. Appraisals and facts proved otherwise. Doing unto others? Apparently you forgot that Mr. Stein did indeed request more time politely. Why are you ONLY critical of one side. Why don't you feel Ms. Jones could have been more courteous towards another civil servant. Remind me again when we met that you know me? Back to disparaging again, huh? See above comment for defintion. Bottom line, your just having too much fun taking down Mr. Stein and anyone who disagrees with you. Never mind truth, insult, hurt, exaggeration. Don't forget to quote the Goldent rule. Then it's all okay Yes, it could have been smoother, particularly had the BOE been more gracious to a sitting officer. Oh well. Grow up Move on like everyone else. Why pretend a man's entire reputation and integrity rest soley on his ability to lay out facts toward a productive end within a 5 minute limit: . Or have you fooled yourself too.
Garry Kanter August 24, 2012 at 08:37 PM
"I understand it is reasonable for a non-participant in these proceedings to wonder if I might have a conflict of interest in this lease approval, given my public advocacy for my congregation's best interests. "And while I can assure you there *is* no conflict, I will never-the-less recuse myself from this vote, so as not to raise even the *appearance* of a conflict, comfortable in the knowledge that my colleagues on council will do the right thing for the citizens of CH." But no, he's gotta grandstand, again, and tell the whole city how wrong he thinks I am. While mis-characterizing what I posted publicly. Not smart strategy. Not smart politics. Not smart governance. That's three strikes.
Richard Hollis August 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Speaking of grandstanding.....
Susan Efroymson August 24, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Oh, what a difference facts make, Gary! Caplan recused herself BECAUSE of family financial interest - her son-in-law IS employed with one of the options being considered. THAT IS the definition of conflict of interest. Any parallels drawn are disengenuous. Stein has NO actual conflict and therefore no requirement to recuse himself. Further, he has been upfront about where he lives and sending his children to the school. Open Honest Up Front Councilman Stein, as Jessica said, "is not a member of the school's board or staff and did participate in the legal discussions between Mosdos and the school board." He receives no monitaryl gain one way or another. There are no kickbacks and his family is not employed by Mosdos. Should every public school parent on council abstain on all SB issues? Obviously not. For Maureen's idea of PERCEIVED Conflict of interest, we can debate it's validity and agree or disagree - civilly, without indicting his character/intergrity. Maybe there is something to recusing on the grounds that there will be people who just can't understand the difference between real and perceived. At worst, as said, it was an error of inexperience. But Gary, why the character assassination? An unreturned phone call? Did it occur to you that your verbal hostility might be the reason? Maureen's right, Mr. Stein works hard on behalf of the city. For reasonable people it takes whole lot more than this to conclude bad character.
Susan Efroymson August 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Oh, .. I have participated in these proceedings and...I was there....I really don't recall him mentioning you by name and singling you out (as you did him, btw) at the Council meeting. He gave a forthright explanation of how he saw it and why he cho se his course of action. And FYI it's a school, not "his congregation"
Maureen Weigand August 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM
OK I said I was finished but need to make one more point. However much it costs Mosdod to operate reflects directly on each child's tuition. There is a fiscal connection here.
Garry Kanter August 25, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Here's where he said my name, and accused me of things I didn't post or say. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-IghEKLrsH0#t=2145 You got most everything else wrong, too.
Garry Kanter August 25, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Besides, the appearance of a conflict of interest isn't limited to financial concerns. That's a bogus premise being put forth. I'm with you. Come election time...
Garry Kanter August 25, 2012 at 12:59 AM
How's that old saying go? "With friends like this, who needs friends?"
Susan Efroymson August 26, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Maureen, if true, his tution would go UP. This is the scandalous conflict bothering you? Gary, (your link didn't work, but I said didn't remember - and I had left by the time the meadowbrook issue came up - which may explain any lack of "memory") CH law requires the council members to vote. They have to ask to be recused. Since there was no actual conflict here - not an employee of Mosdos, nor are his family, not on the board, did not attend meetings, no financial gain et al, he could not expect to be granted a recusal anyway. As B Caplan said, it's his job to vote. It's the hyperbole that's out of whack here. Bad character? Integrity issue? Did he funnel government jobs to family members? Or steer contracting jobs to companies that put pools in his back yard. Um, that was Russo. Did he perform scandalous acts like Craig, or use government funds to party like Spitzer? No? Give classified info to Wikkilleaks? Out our undercover agents? Refuse a congressional subpeana about firearms given to bad guys that shot one of ours after lying about it? Not that either? He over shot a time limit and he voted. He did his job. You don't like it. He was open and honest about where he lives, where his children go to school. He hid nothing. He was transparent. He explained his position. This is much ado about nothing He voted that the city, public and private schools can move forward postively. That's a common good.
Garry Kanter August 26, 2012 at 10:37 AM
If this is "much ado about nothing", it's Jason Stein and you causing it. I offered my *opinion* in the form of a question. Then I get attacked. By him at the council meeting. And you on this thread. You both mis-characterize my question/opinion as an attack. Man, do I despise MENDACITY of that caliber. You spout nonsense as if it's fact, than admit you don't know what you're talking about. That's BS. This whole dopey argument is because, somehow, you all think I'm not entitled to state my opinion in a moderate tone. See you guys on election day.
Richard Hollis August 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM
It is amazing that a person is upset when someone questions his opinion, but that same person called me to berate me for saying something that I never said. I wonder how that works.
Garry Kanter August 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Your comment was ambiguous, Richard. I misunderstood it. And whatever criticism I made, I did it in private. Or so I thought. I assure you, Richard, you will never receive another phone call from me, again.
Richard Hollis August 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I will refrain from any additional comment, other than to suggest that you ought to read more carefully before posting or calling people to tell them that they are wrong.
Garry Kanter August 26, 2012 at 01:50 PM
You are mischaracterizing my words in that conversation. I will no longer respond to your postings.
Richard Hollis August 26, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Someone once said, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."
Garry Kanter August 26, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Irony alert: I'm not the elected official in this story. Resuming no more responses. Thank you.
Richard Hollis August 26, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I called you on my cell phone to tell you that I was on the way to pick up your car. I use my cell phone to call customers and tell them that I am on the way. You then called me on that number and asked if that was the right number to use. I replied that it was not and gave you the correct number. Apparently you felt that since you had the number that it was alright to call it inspite of what I had told you. I just do not get it.
Garry Kanter August 26, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I made an honest mistake. I thought I was calling the garage. As you note, I asked for the proper #. I have manners, but I'm not infallible. And now, I will not reply for any reason, Richard.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Three comments have been deleted for violating our terms of use. No personal attacks. www.clevelandheights.patch.com/terms.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Please don't use Patch as a platform for personal arguments. This comment and what's below (as of Aug. 27 6:30 a.m.) has nothing to do with the article in question.

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