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Cleveland City Hall receives subpoenas from FBI about former Councilman Basheer Jones, city officials say

by Jul 15, 2022Local News

Cleveland City Hall has received multiple subpoenas from the FBI seeking information about former Councilman Basheer Jones, according to two city officials.

City Council President Blaine Griffin and Cleveland Law Director Mark Griffin both confirmed to  The Plain Dealer on Thursday that the FBI recently sent the subpoenas to the city’s law department.

Blaine Griffin said he was not sure what the subpoenas sought. Mark Griffin declined to disclose what the FBI asked the city to turn over.

Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer also reached out to Jones for comment.

Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration did not hand over the subpoenas when The Plain Dealer requested the public records on Thursday. Former Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration, despite a dismal record of transparency, quickly released subpoenas served on the city under his watch upon request.

Mark Griffin said his office is reviewing whether or not they can release the subpoenas.

“We’ve received subpoenas,” he said. “We’ve fully complied with all subpoena’s received.”

Blaine Griffin said no one on council knew about the subpoena until late Thursday. He said council will make public any records sought by the FBI.

Jones, 37, was an activist before being elected in 2017 as councilman for Ward 7, which includes Hough, St. Clair-Superior, Midtown and Asia Town. He defeated incumbent T.J. Dow in that race by 13 votes.

In his four years representing Ward 7, he became one of council’s most outspoken members. He faced two recall efforts to remove him from office during his four years on council. Both failed.

He served one term before giving up his seat to run for mayor in 2021. He garnered 4,801 votes, or 11.9 percent, in the September primary election, finishing fifth out of seven candidates.

Jones on July 7 broke ranks with the Democratic party and endorsed Republican Lee Weingart for Cuyahoga County Executive. Weingart said he was “honored and thrilled” to have Jones’ endorsement in a news release.

“Basheer is a recognized leader in the historic Hough neighborhood and in Cleveland at large,” Weingart’s release said. “His support demonstrates that party labels don’t matter in the race for County Executive.”

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