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Issue Date: December 2007 Issue


The guy next door: Benny Bonanno

The election was still a year away,but the local political pundits predicted Cleveland Clerk of Courts Benny Bonanno would be the city’s next mayor when he appeared in Cleveland Magazine in November 1988 as “The Champion of the West.”

State Sen. Mike White came out of nowhere to beat Bonanno by 1 percent of the vote in the primary election for the right to square off against George Forbes in the 1989 general election.

The 58-year-old former city councilman and state legislator was famous for his door-to-door campaigning. “I did political retail, the old-fashioned way,” says the married father of two children. “I liked talking to Clevelanders about their issues. They were very generous with their votes.”

Bonanno’s political future looked bright after being re-elected to the Clerk’s office in 1993. But two years later, he was forced to resign after pleading guilty to a felony charge of theft in office. He used the city’s computers to aid fellow Democrats’ political campaigns.

The scandal put an end to his political career, so he returned to a previous job at Pubco Corp. As the vice president of marketing and sales, he helps take over bankrupt companies such as Smith-Corona and put them back in business.

Last year his felony record was expunged. “I made a mistake,” he admits. “But I stood up, did my time and went on with my life. All is good."
Comments:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 9:12:33 PM by Anonymous
I worked for this guy under Pubco. He degrades people and literally tells them how disposable they are. I've seen many a tear shed at that company by his barbarism.
Thursday, January 21, 2010 11:44:18 AM by Anonymous
Benny is a great guy who would never degrade anyone. He lives for people to succeed.
Thursday, January 21, 2010 11:32:24 PM by Anonymous
I cannot believe a comment was added today. Went to HS with Benny, decided to google him, and saw your comment. Serendipity. Eerie.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 8:57:34 AM by Anonymous
Currently work under Mr. Bonanno, and could not disagree more with the statement at the top about him degrading people. He does not degrade people, and if you confuse his criticism for degrading then you are sadly mistaken. His criticism comes because he knows you have the capability to succeed to the highest degree. He has a great heart. He pushes people because he knows they have the oppurtunity to be successful and wants to help them seize that oppurtunity.

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