I-Team: COVID-19 crackdown in Cleveland exposed

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found thousands of complaints about people and businesses in Cleveland violating COVID-19 health orders, but that has led to very little enforcement.

City hall news releases show nearly 4000 complaints. But, an I-Team records request has revealed just 43 citations.

Almost all of those citations have been issued to bars.

Late last year, the nightclub called Medusa got a visit from police and health officials. They found multiple violations and hit Medusa with a fine of $18,000.

General Manager Ken Davis told the I-Team, “They’re very selective.”

Davis wonders why are investigators targeting mostly clubs?

He added, “It’s like the nightlife is just a thorn in the city’s side. A thorn in the state’s side. I don’t know why. We bring money to the city.”

Over the last year, we’ve shown you how people have called in complaints about no one wearing masks, or not keeping social distancing, or allowing large crowds to gather.

The city passed new laws with penalties for COVID orders.

City hall took four months to hand over the records on the few dozen citations.

Yet, the mayor’s office continues to ask for tips promising action.

The I-Team wanted to take questions about this to the mayor or someone at city hall.

But, city hall is still closed to the public due to COVID-19. Still closed even with major events happening in the city and so many other government buildings and businesses reopening.

The mayor’s office said it couldn’t even arrange an interview with a remote hook-up.

Last year, we asked Mayor Frank Jackson directly about the lack of enforcement by his administration.

At that time, he answered, “You make the assumption that we have not been enforcing. We have. Looking at complaints that come in. Responding to those complaints.”

Video released to the I-Team shows a team of officers raiding a club operating without a liquor permit and allowing people to hang out in groups without wearing masks.

Video clips like that show the City has taken some action. But, the records show, overall, little enforcement after a lot of tough talk.

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