A neighborhood group in an area that was once home to Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and his extended family recently issued a statement that accuses the Mallory clan of numerous conflicts of interest that affect their public service.
The West End Community Council (WECC) unanimously approved a statement July 15 that harshly criticizes the mayor for his successful efforts to have the neighborhood removed from a list of "impacted communities" where social service agencies potentially could be blocked from building new facilities or expanding existing ones.
Also, the document asks city council to reconsider its June decision and restore the West End to the list.
At city council’s last meeting before its summer break, on June 25, a revised version of a resolution first proposed in April was introduced and approved in an 8-1 vote. Councilman Cecil Thomas was the sole dissenter.
The resolution stated that the city should strive to avoid concentrating social service agencies and programming in neighborhoods deemed negatively impacted due to over-saturation.
Although the original version listed Over-the-Rhine and the West End as currently impacted neighborhoods, the West End was removed from the final version at the mayor’s insistence.
City council’s rules require that any item introduced on its agenda must be voted upon within 90 days; Mallory held the resolution for more than 80 days while behind-the-scenes negotiations continued.
In the proclamation approved two weeks ago by the WECC, the group states, “the mayor willfully and deliberately caused (the resolution) to have the West End removed as an impacted community due to his and his family’s financial, professional and political conflicts.”
The proclamation continues, “Mayor Mallory was widely quoted as saying that the West End had only one social service agency in the Society St. Vincent de Paul, when in fact there are well over 30 social service agencies in the West End.”
That statement refers to a quote that Mallory gave to CityBeat in April, when he said, “Would the West End be deemed to be oversaturated? There’s St. Vincent de Paul and not much else. It depends on the radius used.”
Referring to the fact that the Mallorys frequently refer to themselves as West End residents but spend most of their time at a second home elsewhere, the WECC’s proclamation states, “the mayor falsely claims to reside in the West End when he actually resides in Mount Airy.”
City council began mulling the new restrictions on social service agencies in April after the city lost a two-year long legal battle against the City Link Center, a proposed $12 million “social services mall” that some suburban churches want to build in the West End despite the objections of city council and many neighborhood residents.
Several nonprofit social services agencies opposed that the proposed changes, calling them too severe. They allege the changes would make social services a zoning issue, and that the wording in the changes is overly broad.
Under city council’s rules, a resolution is a general statement of policy but isn’t binding. To enforce the directive, council would have to pass an ordinance and make changes to Cincinnati’s zoning code.
The City Link project has driven a wedge between the Mallory family and many West End residents.
Project opponents believe City Link is being foisted on the West End in an effort to move social service agencies out of Over-the-Rhine as it’s eyed by developers who want to build more upscale projects centered around Washington Park and the Gateway Quarter on Vine Street.
In 2006 Dale Mallory — the mayor’s brother — was impeached as WECC president after it was revealed he was paid to secretly lobby on City Link’s behalf after he initially told the neighborhood group that he wasn’t connected to the project.
-- Kevin Osborne