Posted April 10th 2019
(PHOTO: FRED SZABO FORMER ASSISTANT CLEVELAND HOPKINS AIRPORT DIRECTOR)
FRED SZABO AND DARNELL BROWN CHIEF OF OPERATIONS CITY OF CLEVELAND
Public records obtained by WEWS show that former Hopkins airport No. 2 honcho Fred Szabo, who was suspended and reassigned after being caught shepherding City of Cleveland Chief of Operations Darnell Brown to bypass airport security last year, had a history of security violations.
In a letter to the city, the TSA noted it was Szabo’s third violation in two years.
“TSA believes that subject Szabo’s airport issued access media should be permanently revoked as a result of his egregious actions which negatively impacted the security of our nation’s air transportation system, the misleading statement(s) made by him to TSA within his Letter of Response (LOR) to our investigation against him and, the use of his position at the airport to dissuade proper security measures on the date of the incident,” the letter read.
The news reinforces a few well-trod and disappointing trends when it comes to how the city conducts itself.
The first: That the city lies and obfuscates. As Cleveland.com and others sought records and information on the security violation last year, City Hall communications team members told reporters that the records could not be provided because the TSA would not authorize their release. The TSA, naturally, told reporters that was an outright lie.
The second: That deference to and protection of Jackson’s top officials, at the detriment to public transparency and equal application of the rules, continues to rule the day. According to the records, a security manager who verified the violation was told not to report it to TSA until they had talked to Szabo directly. “If it had been different players, it would have been done right away,” the person told investigators, according to the report.
Szabo and Brown spent nearly a month on paid leave while an initial investigation proceeded. Each received a minor slap on the wrist afterward while the administration made every effort to protect them — at the time the incident was revealed and the paid leaves ordered, the city wouldn’t even name the two officials involved or describe the offending events.
If you’re curious as to how Szabo explained away what he admitted to knowing was a violation of protocols, the internal report showed he told investigators “part of his DNA to help people.”
The entirety of Frank Jackson’s administration’s DNA, meanwhile, is to lie and keep everything secret.