I of course had no intention of spending the last weekend of the campaign defending my friend Loren Naji from known Tremont bully Henry Senyak, who had Loren’s gallery on W. 25th in Ohio City raided on Friday night for having beer at a gallery opening. But I’ve known Loren for a long time – Loren has been a good friend to me – when I ran for council in 2010, he covered the gallery’s front with Russo signs. Practically every video of Loren’s art that’s online, I shot, edited, produced, and directed, since 2008. (here’s my fave) So when the petty piss ant politics of this town jacks up my friend in the court system, I have no choice.
Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman and Henry Senyak have a little shtick, birthed out of the corrupt cess pit of Tremont development scams. I learned about it almost the minute I moved into Tremont in 2004. First, Senyak starts a jihad against a business owner on email. Senyak has a few online minions who make a bigger stink for him. It lasts for months, often years. It gets vicious, personal, and entangles the target in endless harassment. They targeted me a few times.
Cimperman and his cast of landed gentry apologists pretend they are oh so outraged by Senyak, pretend to get Senyak to stop, which never happens of course. Then Cimperman showers Senyak with awards and plaudits and positions on boards, pictures with VIPs from the city, the police department, etc. Then Senyak’s target is on their own, either going out of business like the Starkweather Bar eventually did across the street from Senyak’s home (which is now the Tap House), or ends up in court, or a zoning morass of Senyak’s choosing, sucked dry. Cimperman then has people begging him for help. He loves it.
Cimperman and Senyak then lather rinse repeat. For at least a decade. Maybe longer. Tremont West Development Corporation, which actually elected this shit stain Senyak to its board (with Cimperman’s support), has not just enabled Senyak, but empowered him, with the total support of Joe Cimperman, every step of the way. When I moved out of Tremont in 2010, one of the great pleasures was thinking I’d never have to deal with this nonsense ever again. But then the Senyak-Cimperman two step visited my friend Loren.
Lo and behold, turns out these two frauds picked the wrong target this time. Support for Loren is broad, wide, deep, and unanimous. So unanimous, Senyak and Cimperman have been throwing each other under the bus to blame the other, both lying about who knew what about the raid. Cimperman claimed initially he had no idea anyone had any problem with Loren Naji’s gallery on W. 25th, then Senyak posted an email from 15 months ago from CPD’s Keith Sulzer showing Cimperman knew as far back as March 2013. (along with all the plaques Cimperman handed him declaring Senyak’s awesomeness.) Now Senyak is claiming Eric Wobser of the Ohio City CDC has some other plan for Loren’s property, so Cimperman sent in the raid. I can’t wait to hear what Cimperman’s next lie is. He’s skilled at it. Senyak is doing his predictably bizarre victory lap.
The response online among Loren’s supporters is wonderful, but it needs a little bite. Namely, this is not some out of the blue random state power abuse. It is a known pattern. Knock on any business door in Tremont, and they will tell you their own horror story about Senyak and his pathetic online minions descending upon them with a flurry of insanity. Then they’ll tell you just how pointless Cimperman was in response. It’s not new. Senyak and Cimperman’s sick game is as predictable as the sun rising in the east tomorrow.
Now, how does this matter to a guy running for county executive on the ballot Tuesday? Not much. I could make some big pivot to my message here, but there isn’t one really. Cimperman endorsed Armond Budish. And Issue 7. Of course. But no, this has nothing to do with me. If my friend is in trouble with the law from a low rent protection racket that I’ve seen play out many times myself, I am done playing nice with liars and bullies, and I need to chime in, no matter what else may be going on in my life. I may lose a few votes in the Cimperman Sycophant crowd, but I never had those anyway, because they all like to play this rigged game just as it is.
You won’t hear any of this reported in the local media, either. Cimperman will make damned sure of that. Cimperman this minute is probably weaving together some flimsy tissue of lies to pretend this has NEVER EVER happened BEFORE, MY GOD HOW HORRIBLE. You’ve all heard that line from Joe, no?
I’ve spent the last day trying to warn folks in Ohio City they’re probably next, and assure Loren that this ain’t over by a long shot. Senyak and his minions most certainly already have a list of businesses up and down W. 25th St. who he’s stalked, like a self-appointed vigilante in the night complete with infrared binoculars or some other bullshit, who have no idea they too are on Cimperman’s 15 month wait list for a raid. Maybe they’re listening, maybe not. They will be 15 months from now, I guarantee you that. But it’d be nice if for once, a group of local business owners in a high profile neighborhood like Ohio City stood up to a bully and his political sponsor. We’ll see.
Anyway, vote for me.