CLEVELAND, Ohio — The president and CEO of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has issued a public apology to Cleveland Scene over the removal of 26 of the alt-weekly’s newspaper boxes in the city’s main business district.
Joseph Mariuncci said in a news release Friday that the Alliance “apologizes for the mistake our team made in removing some of Scene’s newspaper boxes from various locations downtown.
The apology is part of a settlement the Alliance reached with Scene on Thursday.
“While well-intentioned staff members believed they were acting properly, the failure to communicate about the missing boxes was unacceptable,” the statement continues We will ensure we maintain solid lines of communication in all such situations going forward. DCA understands the importance of a free press, and regrets even the appearance that we violated Cleveland Scene’s First Amendment Rights.”
The terms of the settlement, aside from a public apology, were not released by either side.
Scene accused the Alliance of violating the newspaper’s First Amendment rights by removing boxes in January and February and not notifying the newspaper.
The alt-weekly said the removal of the boxes came after critical coverage of city projects, including the alt-weekly’s take on a deal the city and Cuyahoga County reached with the Cleveland Cavaliers to renovate the Quicken Loans Arena.
The Alliance said at the time that its workers took the boxes after workers reported that several had tipped over onto sidewalks and into the street. It also said the workers were mistaken in removing the boxes.
The news released was sent out by an Alliance spokeswoman and posted on the website of Subodh Chandra, an attorney representing Cleveland Scene.
Andrew Zelman, the president of Scene parent company Euclid Media Group, said in the release that “we appreciate DCA’s apology reflecting the importance of both the First Amendment and Scene’s journalism to the downtown Cleveland community. The matter has resolved to our satisfaction.”
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