This was originally posted on Lobbyists for Citizens.
Willoughby Hills Dumping…the saga continues
BY STAFF WRITER on • ( 18 )
(LFC Comments: We thought we had this totally covered with our 5 part series, but our Willoughby Hills lobbyist keeps shedding the light on the dumping in Willoughby Hills. So here is part 6, with perhaps more to come.)
Who’s Dumping in Willoughby Hills Part VI
In November 2019, after Cuvier Lukat spent $6,050 to elect Andy Gardner, Joe Jarmuszkiewicz, Chris Hallum, Michael Kline and Tanya Taylor Draper in Willoughby Hills, a city he didn’t even live in, Lukat’s son-in-law Mark Belich sent his army of gigantic trucks to begin dumping all over the protected hillside at 37200 Chardon Road. By then it was almost a year and a half after Belich lobbied hard and won approval from the Willoughby Hills Planning and Zoning Commission for his “driveway project”.
After all that effort to win approval in the spring of 2018, why did Belich’s dump truck army really descend on Willoughby Hills AFTER November 5, 2019, which was coincidentally election day? What was he waiting for?
Let’s look at what Belich said when asked at a P&Z meeting back on April 19, 2018.
P&Z Council Representative Dave Fiebig: When do you think [the project] will occur?
Mark Belich: As you and I have known each other for a long time, Dave, I can recite you some numbers. $365,000 to buy the property; $4,500 for taxes on the property for the last six months while we get through this; $9,000 for Engineering fees to do the drawing; $9,000 for a wetland study; $1,000 for DiFranco to review the drawings; $1,000 for Lake Co. Engineer to review the drawings; $325 for Lake County Soil & Water to review the drawings.
As we sit here in this Work Session, I know we are all interested in reducing the size of government. Its does not sound like we are all being good stewards of all of that. We are here in a work session with people who live in a community to get through that. Some of you who know me here, and I have been around a long time, you know how I am about government. So I am $600,000 into this, I find that there are people who have concerns or comments with what I will do with 38 acres of property that’s $10,000/year in property taxes, which has been nothing but a crystal meth lab and an area to grow marijuana, So I am interested in moving on with this. I think it is going to be a good thing.
Fiebig: The question I will be asked is, When do you plan to start? Are you thinking August?
Belich: We are thinking August and finish by spring. It will be about 6 months.
That was a non-simple response to a simple question: when is this project going to occur? But eventually, with a little prompting, Belich answered it.
As interested as Belich said he was with “moving on with this”, with all the good it was going to do, with all that money on the line and more going out the window every day without any progress, with his dreams of rehabbing the two homes on the property in which he and his in-laws planned to live out their golden years, you’d think Belich would be eager to get started in August 2018 as he planned.
August 2018 would have been an interesting time to start. August 2018 is the first time Mayor Weger threatened to remove six of seven members of the City Council (including Fiebig).
August 2018 came and went, but Belich did not start the project. He did not start it in September 2018 or October 2018 either.
In early October 2018, Weger desperately tried to get rid of the City Council for “cutting the budget too much”. That same month a judge ruled Weger’s behavior illegal and that he could not usurp the will of the voters and remove the City Council. It became evident that, despite all Weger’s attempts to get rid of the Council members who were so unreasonable—so unreasonable that they were against things like paying Weger’s secretary over $100,000 PER YEAR, who’s now Andy Gardner’s secretary and says he’s going to give her a big raise—were failing. By the end of 2018, it was clear those Council members weren’t going anywhere … unless Weger and his cronies could field candidates that could beat them in the November 2019 election.
Belich didn’t start his driveway project in 2018. He didn’t start in January of 2019 or February of 2019 either.
He started the project in November of 2019 when Weger’s cronies’ candidates won the November 2019 election. Was that what he waiting for?
Was Belich afraid to start the project with honest public servants controlling Willoughby Hills City Council?
Was Belich afraid officials who weren’t part of the Good Ol’ Boys Club might stand in his way for some reason?
Was Belich afraid of what these honest public servants would ask, discover or say about his dream dump home project?
Was Belich afraid of what would happen if he didn’t OWN city hall?
Was Belich worried that if didn’t have all the Willoughby Hills officials in his pocket, they they would do to his dump what the Eastlake Council did to his gambling den and strip club?
Did Belich need an insurance policy … a $6,050 insurance policy … to ensure lackeys were sitting on City Council who would look the other way while his dump trucks ran roughshod over the city’s protected land?
Nah, it surely was just a coincidence that he started his “driveway project” right after the November 2019 election, when his father-in-law, Cuvier Lukat, just happened to get a return on his $6,050 investment in the Good Ol’ Boys Club. Definitely a coincidence, because with a residential project this great for the community and in compliance with all laws, honest public servants on City Council would certainly be all for it and there would be nothing for Belich to worry about. Yep, definitely a coincidence.
Have you ever seen a residential driveway project with an army of giant dump trucks, a truck weigh station, dozens of employees and street sweepers before?
Has anyone seen the plans for the house remodeling yet?
Did you know that there was no need to comply with state and federal wetlands regulations because the pond on the property is going to be used for agriculture? Who can wait for the lovely two restored homes, a perfectly sloped driveway and a farm. What an asset to the community!
No wonder Michael Kline—who was a member of the Willoughby Hills Planning and Zoning Commission in the spring of 2018, who is a member of the extreme left wing environmentalist group called the Sierra Club, and a regular harasser of his neighbors who commit the atrocity of destroying the earth by burning fire wood—had no problem with Belich’s plan to dump tons and tons of sewer project waste on protected hillside and wetlands … and why Belich Lukat was happy to oblige Kline with a $500 campaign contribution.
Speaking of farms. Remember how Belich said this in April of 2018:
“This is not a development project. The name of the project is Parkview Development. When we went to incorporate a family business we wanted the name Parkview Farm but that was taken.”
Someone should tell Belich that there are no businesses registered in Ohio with the name Parkview Farm. With Belich’s interest in agriculture and TOTAL DISINTEREST in developing this land to make a gigantic profit, why settle for an imperfect name? For a nominal fee, Belich can change the name of his company any time to Parkview Farm to better reflect the representations he made to the residents of Willoughby Hills on the public record that were relied on by the Planning and Zoning Commission to determine whether the project should be approved.
(LFC Comments: We offer this forum to anyone mentioned in this article to provide a rebuttal to the statements made by this lobbyist exercising his constitutional right of free speech.)