Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cleveland's Top Crook

Public Enemy No. 1

Scene Magazine First Punch
February 28, 2007

You'll be glad to know that lawyer Fred Nance is officially the most powerful suit in town. So says Inside Business magazine, which ranked him at the top of its "Power 100" list this month.

True, Nance is an influential guy. As managing partner at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and head of the business group Greater Cleveland Partnership, his BlackBerry must read like a Most Wanted list of the city's most powerful players.

But if he's the biggest guy in town, please remember to turn out the lights when the last person leaves Cleveland.

Let's review: Nance was a close buddy of former Mayor Mike "I Left My Heart in a Safe Deposit Box" White, and his firm raked in at least $7.1 million in city business during White's dozen-year crime streak. Though he may have performed well for the mayor, his work on behalf of residents might best be described as Who the $%&# Hired This Moron?

Nance was the legal advisor for construction of Browns Stadium -- a project so rife with chaos and theft that the city has no idea what the final cost was.

He also represented the school district during Barbara Byrd-Bennett's Creative Accounting phase.

And, of course, he negotiated for the city when it bought the I-X Center for $66.5 million -- twice what the only other bidder was offering ["The Sweetest Deal," April 5, 2006].

Only two conclusions can be drawn from Nance's work: Either he was in on the scams, or he's the worst lawyer since Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. Now he's serving on advisory committees for Mayor Frank Jackson.

Punch's advice: Hide your good silverware.

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