Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frank Russo's campaign donors got big tax breaks

With Gabriel Baird and Mark Puente

Many of the people who contributed to former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo's election campaigns also went to his office in search of tax breaks -- and got them.

They received hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars off their tax bills thanks to reduced property valuations, a Plain Dealer analysis of campaign-finance reports and county records has found.

At least 359 of Russo's campaign donors received reductions, saving them or their business interests more than $1.8 million in property taxes, according to the findings.

Nearly half of Russo's most generous supporters, who contributed $1,000 or more between 2003 and 2009, have received discounts. Scores of other cases are still pending.
This contrasts with fewer than 10 percent of properties countywide that received reductions during that period.

Read the full story