Sometime this morning Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich is planning to walk up in front of one of the city's largest banks and hold in the air a check for $1.25 million.
The amount would be the first installment of Cleveland's repayment of $14 million owed to six banks since the city defaulted last December.
But he will not make the deposit.
Instead, he will wave the check in the air, and attack the City Council for holding up that payment through political manipulation.
The City Council has delayed the payments to the banks by not allowing Kucinich to transfer general funds into the city's special sinking fund, from which the banks have to be paid.
Despite the rhetorical overtones, however, the message in Kucinich's action is that the fiscal crisis of Cleveland now has become more of a political battle.
The city is scheduled to default on another $3.3 million in loans for itself today, because the mayor and the council have been unable to agree on the technicalities of how to refinance the city's debt. And in little more than a month, the city will face a similar situation involving $14.1 million also owed to itself.
The money in question represents funds borrowed by the city's general fund from special accounts designated for the water department or the airport division, a long-time fiscally risky practice in Cleveland.
But it goes much deeper than that. On Oct. 2, Kucinich faces several candidates in his re-election bid, with a final runoff between the two top vote getters a month later.
And, Kucinich claims, there are people on the council who are political opponents who want to keep default in the news long enough to get him voted out of office.
And, the same council has refused to allow Kucinich to rollover the debt to his own water division, creating another default that is essentially political, since the city is not likely to demand payment from itself.
"The politically vindictive nature of this situation cries out for public scrutiny," Kucinich said in a telephone interview last night.
"What we have in Cleveland is Watergate Inc., the corruption of the public sector and the private sector, operating simultaneously for their mutual gain to the destruction of the public sector," Kucinich claimed.
"There is no plausible reason why the leadership of the council should subject the people of Cleveland to further financial instability," he said.
Opponants of Kucinich claim there are legal barriers to his payoff schemes, and that he has been looking for a scapegoat on which to shift the blame for the city's fiscal problems.
Councilman Thomas Campanella, trying to bring both sides together, told the Associated Press in an interview, "If we will not buy our own notes, how can we ever get banks and insurance companies to do it?"