Wonder How Often This is Happening?

Cleveland Scene does a fine job of illuminating an example of a rather troubling trend…

Five years before Cuyahoga County Recorder Pat O’Malley resigned in May 2008 — one of the first dominoes to fall in the county’s ongoing shame game — he quietly closed a deal that garnered little interest at the time. It was a pact with Data Trace, a California company that specializes in snapping up title and tax documents, then customizing and re-selling the information.

Ohio law provides that anyone may receive a copy of any document filed with a county recorder’s office for $2 a page. But there are no stipulations on what a disc loaded with an entire day’s records — sometimes more than 1,000 documents — should cost. To O’Malley, $50 a day sounded about right.

That deal has since blown up into a controversy that involves a lawsuit before the state’s highest court and a newspaper’s apparent role as judge and jury in the case despite a conflict of interest.

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