Friday, on WCPN’s weekly Reporters’ Roundtable, Cleveland.com editor Chris Quinn announced that the Plain Dealer and Advance Ohio (PD/Cleveland.com parent company) would be renouncing their memberships in the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the local chamber of commerce.
That decision comes amid local controversy surrounding Cleveland’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, details of which have been kept secret. Though the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and 20 other quasi-public and private organizations were involved in the creation of the bid, no one is sharing specifics. Mayor Frank Jackson told Channel 5 that he would release the bid eventually, but GCP is said to be mandating the tight lid on information.
“We at Advance Ohio and the Cleveland Plain Dealer have been a member of that group for a long time,” Quinn said on WCPN. “We’re getting out. We’re not going to be a part of it anymore. We are all about transparency, and don’t want to be part of something that’s not.”
Responding to a follow-up inquiry, Quinn told Scene that Advance and the PD had been weighing for some time whether or not they would renew their membership in February. In fact, they were “leaning toward” not renewing.
“We have been questioning the value our organization receives in return for the substantial membership dues we pay, for one,” Quinn wrote in an email. “But GCP's old-fashioned role in keeping the Amazon proposal secret made the decision more urgent.”