CLEVELAND — Embattled Cuyahoga County Jail associate warden Eric Ivey is now faced with more issues after being behind nearly $20,000 in property taxes to the county that signs his paycheck.
According to county records, Ivey's vacant and unsecured East Side Cleveland home has been accruing the huge bill for several years, which includes delinquent water, sewer and lawn cutting fees.
Ivey was demoted from warden to associate warden in February for violating the county nepotism policy, and was the part of the Nov. 2018 U.S. Marshals report outlining Ivey's performance as warden.
The report alleged Ivey violated inmates constitutional rights by issuing discipline without a hearing, and imposing meal restrictions on inmates as punishment.
Part of the huge amount owed to Cuyahoga County was amassed while Ivey was earning a reported $95,000 salary as warden.
Community activists Joe Jones and Al Porter, who have been calling for charges to be filed in the investigation into jail conditions, told News 5 tax delinquencies shouldn't be tolerated from county leaders like Ivey.
"Absolutely offended, I mean these are people that were put in a position to set an example for us," Jones said.
"We're expecting them to do the right thing, and they don't pay their taxes? If that was one of us, we would have been thrown in jail."
Cuyahoga County leaders told News 5 staying current with property taxes isn't a term of employment, but county council member Michael Gallagher said tax delinquencies wouldn't be acceptable for council members or council staff.
Porter told News 5 better background checks on candidates for top county positions are needed.
"You have to have a much better job of vetting, if you don't do a better job vetting, then you're going to continue to have the same problem, again and again," Porter said.
News 5 contacted Ivey by phone and he told us he was now on a payment plan, that family issues caused him to get behind on the home, and that he plans to pay the entire balance.
Ivey paying down the delinquent total from $30K to just under $20K.
Still, Jones believes more checks on top county employees must be done.
"How many more Cuyahoga County employees aren't paying taxes, I mean we found about this one," Jones said.
"When it comes to taxes we aren't allowed to break the law, why should they get away with it?"