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Calls for public hearings into Cleveland water bills following federal lawsuit alleging discrimination

Mayor Frank Jackson says "internal changes" possible
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Posted at 10:18 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 23:18:52-05

CLEVELAND — Two Cleveland city councilman are calling for public hearings into how water customers in 70 communities across Northeast Ohio are billed following a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed last month by the NAACP Legal Defense fund and alleges water customers are losing their homes as a result of unfair tax liens placed on customer's homes for water that was not used.

To read the lawsuit, click here.

At Cleveland City Council's meeting Monday evening, Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell proposed public hearings into allegations made in the lawsuit saying he was "very, very concerned."

Conwell was joined by Ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones who said, "We are part of a system that that should be focused on making our residents lives better--not worse."

While neither gave a timeline for hearings, Basheer insisted, "Definitely, definitely, it needs to happens for sure."

Meanwhile, Mayor Frank Jackson spoke out for the first time since the lawsuit was filed, suggesting he was working with the Cleveland Water Department in the aftermath of the NAACP lawsuit.

"We are doing some things internally to deal with some of the things that we consider may be some legitimate concerns that they may have," Jackson said.

Jackson declined to elaborate.

RELATED: NAACP Legal Defense Fund sues Cleveland Water for discrimination

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