Cleveland sues self to avoid public vote on $70m Cavs renovation subsidy

In the latest step in the increasingly bizarre Cleveland Cavaliers $70 million glass-wall subsidy battle, the city of Cleveland is now suing itself over whether the plan can be challenged by referendum, apparently so that city lawyers can argue both sides of the case:

[Council President Kevin] Kelley described the action as that which was requested in a taxpayer demand letter issued by the attorneys representing the referendum coalition. He said it was the “most expeditious way” to resolve the issue…

[Referendum-challenging attorney Subodh] Chandra was dismayed when Scene reached him by phone.

“I have been a litigator for more than two decades,” he said. “I thought I had seen everything. But I have never seen a party working to orchestrate a suit against himself, telling himself to do the right thing.”

The city’s lawsuit will now go directly to the state supreme court, with no appeal. Since Chandra and his fellow attorneys are now excluded from the suit, if the city fails to make a strong argument that it violated the law by refusing to accept petitions calling for a public vote on the deal, then it can wash its hands of the problem and walk away, maybe? It would seem there would have to be a way to challenge this legally, but if Cleveland really has invented a get-out-of-lawsuits-free card that it can play by suing itself, then they certainly deserve our respect. Also fear, because damn, is that ever not democracy.

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One comment on “Cleveland sues self to avoid public vote on $70m Cavs renovation subsidy

  1. UPDATE: The arena subsidy opponents are planning to challenge this move on the grounds that a court must allow private citizens to intervene when the “public interest” will be served:

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