Sunday, April 29, 2018





(see immediately under main graphic blog header)




Back on February 20, 2018 The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) initiated a critique of a proposed settlement of a Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry's effort to prevent the closure of the "for-profit" Affinity Medical Center which closure took place on February 11, 2018.

Sine February 20th, The Report has been sitting back and perusing developments as "in-the-background" negotiation of the precise make up the the settlement has been worked out by respective counsel for the various parties-in-interest which, of course, in the main is the city of Massillon and the owner of Affinity Medical Center.

Only from The Stark County Political Report will Massillonians/Stark Countians get "the full story" upon which to determine whether or not Massillon's acquisition is a "white elephant" draining Massillon's already fragile finances or a "stroke of genius" that will bring an "unexpected" financial gift from Heaven that will boost Massillon's financial portfolio beyond what anybody in Massillon government thought when the abrupt closing of was announced.

On Monday, April 30th, Massillon City Council will be holding a work session on specifics of the the settlement.

Thanks to the work of "frequently over-the-top" Massillon civic activist Scott Graber Massillonians will have the opportunity to speak out on the issue come tomorrow night.


Graber, who seems in the SCPR's experience to be disdained by many if not most Massillon public officials, deserves credit for getting a change in the agenda by engaging council clerk Diane Rolland who cited "past practice" as to why a niche for  "public speaks" was not included in the original agenda that she e-mailed out.

How many times have we citizens heard from government:  "That is how its always been done."

Kudos to Clerk Rolland for not being put off by Graber's abrasive ways of objecting to the omission and, obviously, after consulting with others in Massillon's government, revising the agenda to provide Massillonians with the opportunity to weigh-in on tomorrow's proceeding.

Graber was not done.

Through his effort, Massillon government released a bevy of information which the SCPR has picked up upon in writing this blog.

The Report does not feel comfortable working with much of anything that Graber gets into in the way of his seemingly constant battle with Massillon officialdom.

In the opinion of the SCPR, much of Graber's work is unreliable in terms of his having an accurate take on the subject matter he addresses with various Massillon officials and, to boot, many of his communications seem to be laced with invectives that undermine his ability to be effective in digging out information that the Massillon public might be interested in.

Graber, moreover, has attacked the SCPR with outlandish accusations when The Report does not do his bidding.

An example:

Recently, Graber filed a lawsuit on the Affinity matter, to wit:

On the SCPR deciding that the suit was not "ripe" (today it is)  for The Report to comment upon.

Here is the contents of an e-mail he sent to his attorney expressing his dissatisfaction with the subject matter upon which the SCPR chooses to write:


Yes on Graber himself.

Anybody who has been reading the SCPR for the past ten years knows the The Report has written many a incisively critical blog on Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and his brother and now county sheriff George T. Maier.

The SCPR is Stark County's most independent media.

The Report hasn't responded to one of Graber's sporadic e-mails directed to the SCPR in years.

A very rare phenomenon with this blogger.

Why so?

Mostly because Graber gets so utterly ugly which indicates a person whose very political DNA appears to be grounded in incivility and personal ugliness and thereby making it impossible to have a rational exchange with him.

The SCPR has been privy to emails responsive to Graber initiated emails to the effect:  "take me off your email list!"

Graber, if he were not so "over-the-top," could be a constructive force in being an effective "check and balance" on Massillon government.

Some Massillon officials, the SCPR thinks, use his "way-out-there" political attacks on them as evidence they communicate to the general Massillon public to undermine his credibility as a civically engaged citizen.

In the Affinity instance of his civic activism, (the SCPR always gives credit where credit is due notwithstanding what The Report's overall negative opinion of the source might be), Graber has done some important work through public records requests, the results of which have the promise of shedding light on the long term financial implications (positive/negative) of the proposed Massillon/Affinity agreement that compels Massillon City Council thinking long and hard into the details prior to acting on whether to approve/disapprove the settlement.

What's the saying?

Yes:  "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while."

Lamentably, such is the SCPR take on Graber and his civic activism.

He could be so much more effective with an adjustment in approach to those he tries to influence.

How about a "I respectfully" disagree with you approach?

What's the SCPR's take on his lawsuit?

First, an update on the status of the case.

Massillon has filed its answer to the Graber complaint and each side has submitted their respective statements of "disputed facts" all of which can be checked out by interested readers at this LINK.

Get this.

Trial is set for October 9, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. before Stark County Court of Common Pleas John Haas.

The Report is all for compliance Ohio political subdivision compliance with Ohio's Sunshine Law.

As far as it goes, if successful, would strike a blow for local governments being more attentive on the mechanics of invoking the law.

Let sunshine bathe government processes!

Such has always been a primary cause of The Stark County Political Report.

Not to minimize Graber's effort, but won't the issue be "moot" by October 9th?

The real solution is for council to fully and completely vet the proposal and make a realistic determination going forward on whether or not acquiring the Affinity assets is in the best interest of the fiscal integrity of Massillon government.

For if the agreement proves to be ill-advised and detrimental to the health of Massillon's finances going forward; all those councilpersons who vote for it ought to be held accountable at the polls in the November, 2019 elections.

On the other hand, if the agreement proves to be a "genius move," then those same approving members should get high marks for perceiving such in their next re-election bid.

The SCPR thinks it is likely to be the former rather than the latter (although this blogger "hopes" it will be the latter over the former) and the rest of this blog will provide the basis for The Report's negative analysis.

Let's start with an assessment of Councilman at Large Paul Manson as quoted to Massillon LIVE! journalist J.D. Ress:

Here are the SCPR's copies of relevant documents:

As shown in the 5th District Court of Appeals pleading immediately below Judge Dixie Park's order excluding Affinity (Massillon government as successor) from receiving the projected $800,000 is highly unlikely.

Getting back to the assets that have been or will be transferred to Massillon if the agreement is approved.

Note:  It appears that a goodly number of tangible property (i.e. medical equipment) has as of April 3, 2018 been transferred and one public official in a position to know says that Mayor Catazaro-Perry is saying that Massillon has already sold some of that equipment.

If true, that brings up the question of what happens if Massillon council rejects the settlement?

Will Massillon have to pay the proceeds over to Affinity's parent company?

And here is even more.

So there, you, the readers of the SCPR have a pretty complete picture of the numbers involved in the proposed Affinity transaction.

Of course, there remains the $600,000, more or less, in lost income tax/property revenue to the city because of the Affinity closing.

Obviously, the lost $600,000 needs to be replaced by aggressive economic development over the next few years.

Clearly Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry has boxed herself in and is desperate to get council to to share political ownership of what is increasingly looking like a financial albatross that might well throw Tigerland back into fiscal emergency from which it only recently emerged.

The Stark County Political Report has written and continues to think that as a matter of  political grandstanding, Catazaro-Perry was instrumental in Massillon having to endure state of Ohio supervision getting out of financial straits when self-administered belt tightening coupled with an effective .2% income tax increase campaign was all that was needed to straighten fiscal matters out.

Taking on the Affinity Medical Center complex has the potential to throw Massillon into a financial tailspin which will dwarf the Catazaro-Perry instigated crisis.

Of course there is a chance a financial messiah will materialize at Duncan Plaza who will prove to be a miracle worker in returning Massillon to its heydey of the 1920s through 1950s.

But don't count on it.

The proposed Affinity deal is likely to define the legacy of Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

What will that legacy be?

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