Cuyahoga County is officially getting a windfall from the opioid lawsuits, and the story behind the cheese puff pyramid scheme: This Week in the CLE - Oct. 3, 2019

The cash heading to Cuyahoga and Summit counties in opioid case settlements has topped $65 million and continues to climb, which makes us wonder whether we are getting more than we actually spent on the crisis.

That’s where we start the conversation on the first October episode of This Week in the CLE, the analysis of the news by the journalists of Laura Johnston and I cohost.

Criminal justice editor Kris Wernowsky provides the details on the growing opioid settlements and talks about the tangible costs, like autopsies, and the less visible costs, such as helping people overcome addiction. Kris also talks about the latest attempt by the drug companies to kick the Cleveland judge off of all of the lawsuits governments have filed involving the crisis.

Kris also offers insights into a multimillion dollar pyramid scheme with cheese puffs at the center and some interesting characters, including a woman who twice hosted something called the Lingerie Bowl. The scam cost a bunch of people their life savings, and two people who carried out the scheme were sentenced this week in Cuyahoga County.

New information about a felon photographed with a gun and a lot of cash on Mayor Frank. Jackson’s driveway closes the Kris segment, as Kris explains how public documents identify the man in the photo as a member of a criminal gang.

Reporter Pete Krouse joins the podcast to talk about the battle of South Euclid, between the City Council and the municipal court judge.

Pete also talks about the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s new approach to endorsing proposed tax increases on the ballot.

And Pete lays out the question that is on the minds of a lot of civic leaders these days: What does an inclusive economy mean? It’s a question that is central to several discussions taking place this year with an aim of mapping prosperity for the region The next edition of Cleveland Connects will get at that question with a panel discussion. Cleveland Connects is sponsored by PNC Bank and produced by and The Plain Dealer in partnership with ideastream, the public broadcasting entity that includes WVIZ/PBS Channel 25, WCPN FM/90.3 and WCLV FM/104.9.

Politics editor Jane Kahoun is up next, with a perspective on the voter purge that finally took place, after years of political squabbling and court fights.

Jane also talks about the intensifying skirmishes in the move to put an expensive bailout of the state’s nuclear plants before voters. Attorney General Dave Yost is threatening to charge people for interfering.

Jane also talks about... For information regarding your data privacy, visit