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Cleveland mayoral candidate Justin Bibb underreported his sources of income for 3 years in state ethics disclosure files

By on August 25, 2021 0

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland mayoral candidate Justin Bibb has filed incomplete financial disclosure forms with the Ohio Ethics Commission each for the past three years, underestimating his earnings and failing to list the creditors and investments.

The forms, voluntarily filed by Bibb as a board member of the Greater Regional Transit Authority, only mentioned the allowance he had received as a board member.

Bibb is one of seven candidates seeking to succeed Mayor Frank Jackson, who is retiring after 16 years as chief executive. The next mayor will take over an operation of approximately 7,000 employees and an annual budget of $ 1.8 billion.

Contacted by cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, Bibb’s campaign acknowledged the error and attributed it to a misunderstanding regarding deposit requirements based on RTA guidelines.

Bibb’s campaign on Wednesday said he would send the Ethics Commission additional information for reports originally filed in 2019, 2020 and earlier this year. The campaign also provided copies of this information to cleveland.com.

“Justin has no problem sharing this information with the public,” the campaign said in a statement. “He is currently working on filing amendments with the CAB to include information that has been inadvertently excluded from disclosures.”

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Additional information for this year’s report lists Urbanova, for whom Bibb is the chief strategy officer, and Key Bank, where Bibb served as vice president, as sources of revenue in 2020. He also reported revenue from Key Bank for 2019 and Gallup, an analytics and consulting firm, in 2018.

The RTA, in a statement, said it had not informed Bibb that he was only to disclose his earnings to the RTA board of directors to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The transportation authority, in the statement, said it regularly reminds board members to meet the Ohio Ethics Commission filing deadline and to call the commission with any questions. .

A check of reports that other RTA board members filed this year for 2020 showed that almost all gave detailed lists of their sources of income.

Ohio law requires office holders at the state, county, municipal, and school board levels to disclose their sources of income and other factors that can lead to ethical conflicts, such as businesses, creditors, gifts, investments and fiduciary relationships. Those in public positions that are not legally required to disclose – such as RTA board members – often file reports as well.

Income is defined as gross income reported to the Internal Revenue Service and interest and dividends on government securities. Specific dollar amounts do not need to be disclosed unless the source is dealing with the public body for which the depositor serves.

Knowingly filing false information is a first degree offense punishable by a fine of up to $ 1,000 and jail time of up to six months.

But the ethics committee also recognizes that sometimes mistakes are made. In the event of unintentional omissions, the depositor may apply to the commission. Commission staff could also discover an irregularity and contact the registrant so the case can be corrected, said Paul Nick, the commission’s executive director.

All seven Cleveland mayoral candidates have filed disclosure reports for 2020. Those in public office – State Senator Sandra Williams and City Councilors Kevin Kelley and Basheer Jones, filed by the May 17 deadline . Williams filed an application with the Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.

Kelley, Jones and Williams indicated that their office salaries were their main sources of income.

Kelley also listed Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur, a Cleveland law firm where he is an advisor, and interest income. Jones listed the income from consulting and speaking fees.

Ross DiBello, Dennis Kucinich and Zack Reed, as candidates, were due to apply by August 15, 30 days before the Cleveland primary.

DiBello, an attorney, listed his work with the Cuyahoga County Common Plea Court, unemployment benefits and income for document review services.

Kucinich’s sources included his congressional pension, income from Social Security, consulting services and Finney Avenue Books, the company that printed his book on Cleveland Public Power.

Reed listed his earnings from working in the office of the Ohio Secretary of State and his consulting business.

Among all applicants, the listed creditors were generally related to credit card debit, student loans, and bank loans.

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