Housing Court Departments & Leadership
Cleveland Housing Court has four departments that work together to successfully serve the citizens of Cleveland and Bratenahl.
The Administrative Department
The Human Resources department, under the direction of its capable leader, NaTosha Farley, ensures the successful execution and maintenance of administrative tasks, technical matters, and other vital functions of the court.
The Housing Court Specialists Department
Led by Chief Housing Specialist Carl Kannenberg, the specialists are a unique part of Housing Court, as this department is comprised of court employees who work as probation officers and who also offer information and assistance in housing matters with the City of Cleveland.
The Magistrates Department
Led by Chief Magistrate Myra Torain Embry is comprised of magistrates, staff attorneys and coordinators who hear and rule on civil cases, conduct research and interface with case participants regarding hearing dates, evidence, etc.
The Bailiff Department
Led by Chief Bailiff Yusef Russell is comprised of a team of law enforcement professionals responsible for the safety and security of the Cleveland Housing Court, its employees and the public that it serves. Court bailiffs are authorized to provide physical enforcement to execute all official court orders, service court documentation, conduct evictions to retrieve properties of landlords, and provide a level of security that ensures a safe environment in which to conduct court business.
Cleveland Housing Court Leadership Staff
Personal Bailiff to Judge W. Moná Scott
Kaylah Hinton is the Personal Bailiff to Judge Scott, and she is a graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing as well as a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Having completed her studies at Kent State University, Kaylah began her professional journey at Juvenile Court as an intern with Judge Michael J Ryan continued on with Cuyahoga County as full-time employee for three years.
Deputy Court Administrator/HR Director
NaTosha Farley serves as the Deputy Court Administrator/HR Director for Cleveland Housing Court. As a former HR Manager from the healthcare field, where she successfully developed and implemented recruitment strategies that has led to the hiring of top talent. She is a highly skilled business professional who has earned a MBA with a specialization in Human Resources from Northcentral University. While also holding a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, from Tiffin University. As an experienced HR Professional her extensive background includes managing employees, creating job descriptions, conducting interviews, training & development and performance management. She is also effective with helping organizations and businesses to achieve success by developing and implementing effective HR strategies. She thrives on creating positive work environments for employees while ensuring that company’s goals are met. In her spare time NaTosha enjoys writing, traveling and being near the ocean.
Myra Torain Embry serves as Chief Magistrate for the Cleveland Housing Court. In this position she oversees the Magistrate Department, which hears cases between individuals, corporations and other entities. These cases most often involve landlord/tenant matters such as Forcible Entry and Detainer (evictions), motions to stay evictions, temporary restraining orders for utility shut-off, motions to compel repairs, rent deposits, motions for release of rents, and motions to prohibit re-rental. Other civil actions include foreclosure, receivership, and nuisance abatements. Embry has worked for Housing Court for 21 years, joining as Magistrate in August 2000. She became Deputy Chief Magistrate in January 2020. Previously, she was an attorney in the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for nearly seven years. Embry earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Spelman College and her Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University.
Yusef F. Russell Sr. is the Chief Bailiff for the Cleveland Housing Court. Russell is a native of Cleveland and a graduate of Cuyahoga Community College’s Police Academy. He has 20 years of law enforcement experience, including with the East Cleveland Police Department as an auxiliary police officer and as a sheriff’s deputy in Geauga County. He joined Cleveland Housing Court more than 15 years ago and has worked as the court’s field supervisor for 10 years. His lengthy experience with the court enables him to successfully engage directly with the community as well as work hand in hand with the Housing Court staff, continuing to uphold the court’s integrity and promises to serve the city.
Chief Housing Court Specialist
Carl Kannenberg serves as the Chief Housing Court Specialist for Cleveland Housing Court. Carl has served the Housing Court first as a Housing Court Specialist and then as the Housing Court’s Compliance Specialist. In the Compliance Specialist role, Carl worked with bulk property owners to ensure compliance with the Court’s Community Control conditions and all applicable City of Cleveland ordinances. Prior to coming to the Housing Court, Carl obtained his Ohio Police Officer Training Certificate and worked as police officer both on the local and state level. Carl also has experience as a probation officer. Carl graduated from The College of Wooster in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology. In his spare time Carl enjoys spending time with his wife, 3 children and 2 Goldendoodles.
Chief of Information Technology
Anthony Crespo is the Chief of Information Technology for Cleveland Housing Court. Anthony served the city of Cleveland with the courts for six years before accepting this role. First, he was a Records Manager for the Criminal Division, before joining Housing Court as a Deputy Bailiff. He was born and raised in Garfield Heights, attended Ohio State University, and has his two-year Associates Degree from Cuyahoga Community College. He has worked on the implementation of the Odyssey Case Management System since the project's inception, serving as a lead documenter and Subject Matter Expert for both Housing Court and the Criminal Division. He enjoys running, making people happy, telling stories, traveling, the Cleveland Browns, and 360° windmill dunking on a 10-foot-high hoop.
Chief of Social Worker
Valentina Pass East side of Cleveland Ohio native, graduate of East High School of Cleveland. Valentina has a background in advocacy, working with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of IL from 2017-2019. Where she received a public service award from the United States Attorney. After relocating back to the Greater Cleveland area in 2019, she worked with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office as an advocate on a sexual assault task force from 2019-2021 before coming to the housing court in November of 2021. Valentina has a BS in Criminal Justice from the only HBCU in St. Louis MO, Harris Stowe State University graduating Magna Cum Laude, she earned a MS in psychology from Tiffin University, and currently working on a second Master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Malone University, in Canton.
Cleveland Housing Court Specialists
Housing Specialists are court employees with expertise in and knowledge about laws that affect housing issues, mediation, the eviction process, community concerns and complaints, home repairs, housing renovation, housing inspections, and the criminal housing court process. Housing Court Specialists are considered Probation Officers and Mediators and receive extensive training from the Ohio Supreme Court.
Housing Specialists are NOT attorneys and CANNOT offer legal advice or representation. They CAN, however, provide landlords, tenants, and property owners with information about the law and court procedures. The specialists also operate the Cleveland Housing Court Clinic.
The Clinic operates on the first floor of the Justice Center from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A Spanish speaking specialist is available Monday (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and Friday (12:30 to 3:30 p.m.)
Some of the primary duties and responsibilities are provided below:
- Operate the Cleveland Housing Court Clinic
- Provide Probation services for the Criminal Court docket
- Determine eligibility for the criminal diversion program (SIP)
- Provide investigative services and reporting for sentencing in criminal cases
- Inform and educate citizens about the Criminal Code Enforcement process
- Provide Mediation services during Civil proceedings
- Inform and educate the community about the Eviction Process & Rent deposits
- Act as a liaison to Utility Companies concerning Shut-Offs
- Educate and assist the community with the Temporary Restraining Order process
- Respond to inquiries from the community via telephone, email and in person
- Community Outreach and collaboration with various agencies