Congresswoman Marcia Fudge denies any role in getting a violent and disgraced ex-judge hired at Cleveland City Hall.
Former Judge Lance Mason, who was found guilty of brutally beating his wife, was placed on the city payroll on August 28. Fudge endorsed Mayor Frank Jackson's re-election and has ties to Mason. Channel 3 raised the possibility that Fudge may have placed a call to city hall based on her relationships with Mason and Jackson.
But Rep. Fudge denies making any call to help Mason. Dan Williams, spokesman for Mayor Jackson, also denied that nobody in the administration spoke with Fudge regarding Mason.
Mason was hired in part because city hall said he had a law degree. But Mason is already banned from serving as a judge in Ohio due to his felony conviction. The Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct has recommended that the former judge be permanently disbarred. Justice have the final say.
In a statement emailed to the news media, Rep.Fudge said the following:
"I did not ask Mayor Jackson to hire Lance Mason. Nor did I learn that Mr. Mason worked for the city of Cleveland until this week."
Mason served nine months behind bars on charges he punched his wife 20 times, smashed her head against a dashboard five times, bit her face and choked her. She required reconstrcutive surgery on her face. The beating occurred while he was driving down Van Aiken Boulevard with their two children in the back seat.
The Mayor's office said Mason was the most qualified of the 16 people who applied for the job of Business Minority Development Administrator. Channel 3 reviewed the applications and found nine have Masters Degrees.
Chris Inyang, who runs a business in Euclid, said the hiring of Mason makes it feel that "there wasn't an even playing field." Mark Booker, who has a master's in banking and finance, said "it doesn't seem fair" in response to Mason's hiring.
Mayor Jackson and Lance Mason have refused to talk.