BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- About 200 Beachwood residents packed city council chambers on Wednesday for a special meeting to hear detailed allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mayor Martin Horwitz.
Carole Rendon of the law firm Baker & Hostetler LLC. was hired by the city as a special counsel to investigate several allegations against the mayor.
Rendon said her team investigated 24 allegations against Horwitz and found 14 of them to be credible. She said the alleged conduct by the mayor was over an 18-month period and was not as a result of a single incident. There was no allegation of inappropriate physical conduct.
Rendon did not specify the dates of each allegation. She presented them in three categories: those that were substantiated, those that were highly credible and those without substantiation.
In one incident during a meeting, Horwitz was alleged to have said to a pregnant woman, “You really let yourself go.” Later, Horwitz’s attorney clarified that the pregnant woman was sitting in another woman’s seat, and he addressed the comment to the other woman.
Horwitz admitted that he may have made a handful of the comments, but claims he was joking and has an odd sense of humor.
In another substantiated incident, Mayor Horwitz allegedly told an employee that his wife was going out of town and that he was “excited for the next four days of hookers and heroin.”
In another incident, Horwitz was allegedly peering down the chest of a woman and when asked what he was staring at, he replied “I’m just trying to see how far down that tattoo goes.”
Rendon also revealed several unsubstantiated allegations that claim Horwitz made offensive remarks about African Americans and people of Jewish faith.
Mayor Horwitz apologized to the crowd saying, “I’m deeply sorry, I did not intend this to happen and I apologize for hurting any of you or offending you.”
Horwitz said he takes full responsibility for his comments and actions.
“If I had known about this, I would have resolved it,” said the mayor.
The chambers applauded when the mayor finished his remarks.
Horwitz’s attorney addressed city council members saying he vehemently denies most of the comments attributed to him.
“There is not a bigoted bone in that man’s body and I’m offended that this was presented to you (audience) tonight. It was unusual and unfair to present these allegations in such a public way," said attorney Dale Markowitz.
Markowitz submitted several letters from city employees showing their support for the mayor.
During public comment, community members voiced their support for the mayor and some expressed disgust that the allegations were aired publicly and not handled when the incidents allegedly occurred.
The mayor said he is willing to apologize personally to the people he offended and participate in any type of sensitivity training.
“I don’t think he needs to be removed from office, but he definitely is not funny,” said one resident.
City council has voted unanimously to condemn the mayor’s comments, but agree the situation does not rise to the level of removing him from office. The matter is considered closed.