CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team is exposing more secrets of what’s happening with your tax dollars surrounding Northeast Ohio’s bid to get Amazon to build a new headquarters here.
Thursday, we revealed two county councilmembers voted to approve spending $50,000 in taxpayer money to help cover the cost of making the bid for Amazon. Yet, the councilmembers didn’t know exactly what work would be covered by the money.
Now, we are also revealing an audiotape from that meeting. It shows a council staff person raising questions about the spending. Khalil Seren can be heard saying, "It worries me that we don't know what was actually paid for."
Meantime, city hall confirms Cleveland will also be adding tax dollars to cover the cost of trying to bring Amazon here. A spokesman for the mayor's office says the city is basically waiting for a bill. So, it’s not clear yet what the city's dollar amount will be.
This comes as city and county leaders have refused to reveal the overall bid for Amazon despite public records requests.
The money approved by the county this week will go to the Greater Cleveland Partnership, a local business group. The top man there has been out of town, so we emailed questions to him. In response to our questions about what work the $50,000 covers, Joe Roman only wrote, “Research, graphic design, etc.”
Roman says he’ll speak with us when he gets back in town. We will also continue pursuing records requests concerning this. And, some other local officials tell us they plan to demand to know more as well. At the heart of the matter, everyone asking, ‘What did we get for the money?’