CLEVELAND (WJW) - The FOX 8 I-Team has sparked new developments in the case of a man sent to jail for not fixing up a home. Our first report sparked a firestorm and that has led to action.
This week, we uncovered the case of Jeffrey Ivey. Cleveland Housing Court Judge Mona Scott sent him to jail for 90 days for not making repairs to a home on East Boulevard.
"I don't think the crime fits the punishment.” Ivey told us from behind bars.
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Now, Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell says he and local ministers are getting involved.
"I want the property taken care of, but he needs to be out," Conwell said.
We’ve reported that Ivey has been ordered to make repairs since 2019. No one lives at that home and the councilman says neighbors have complained.
We often see violent criminals allowed back on your streets, but this led to jail time.
People watching this case have asked how many big landlords actually get punished.
"Got to try to figure out if he sat in jail for 90 days, it’s going to be hard for him to pay to have his property," Councilman Conwell said.
Civil rights attorney Marcus Sidoti is also now stepping up to help.
"We're speaking to Mr. Ivey and we plan on taking this case pro bono," he told the I-Team. "I understand he's trying his best, so we hope to assist him and hope to rectify in hopes he keeps his home and can help out his family."
Ivey has said he struggled to make the repairs ordered by housing court even while working a freelance job and a part-time job.
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Cleveland Council President Blaine Griffin says he, too, is going to try and help Ivey. Griffin is checking to see if there are any government programs that can help pay for the home repairs.
Meanwhile, at the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, we wondered how often housing court sends someone to jail. We asked how many times it happened last year. The county tells us the jail doesn't keep any records that way, so we've filed multiple requests for court records to find out.
Thursday, we also went looking, again, for Judge Scott.
The first day we tried to reach her, we were told she had a full day of cases. The second day, we found an empty courtroom. We were told the judge was not in the building.
By phone, the housing court administrator told us, “You don’t barge down here. Nobody shows up and demands anything.”
But now, more and more people are asking questions, not just the I-Team.
We will follow up with what happens next after the new lawyer, council members and ministers continue to get involved.
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