Mahoning County auditor, Youngstown mayor and attorney indicted - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Mahoning County auditor, Youngstown mayor and attorney indicted for corruption

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - Youngstown Mayor John McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino, and Valley attorney Martin Yavorcik have been indicted (read the indictment here) on corruption charges in connection with the investigation into the purchase of the  Oakhill Renaissance Place by Mahoning County.

The three allegedly fell under the influence of  two unnamed local businessman, and businesswoman who offered them money, services and other benefits.

The case has similarities with an August 2010 indictment by the Mahoning County Grand Jury that handed up criminal conspiracy charges against Sciortino, McNally, who was county commissioner at the time as well as retired millionaire mall developer Anthony Cafaro, Sr., and former Treasurer John Reardon.

The 2010 indictments alleged that Anthony Cafaro, Sr. conspired with several of Mahoning County's elected officials to block the county's purchase of the Oakhill building, allegedly trying to prevent the relocation of the Department of Jobs and Family Services from the Cafaro-owned Garland Plaza to the county-owned former hospital facility named Oakhill Renaissance Place. A visiting judge dismissed those criminal charges about a year later.

Wednesday's indictments allege the existence of an enterprise that included a failed effort to elect Attorney Martin Yavorcik as Mahoning County Prosecutor so that McNally, Sciortino, former Mahoning County Treasurer Lisa Antonini and one of the businessmen would not be investigated or prosecuted.

When McNally was a county commissioner, investigators claim that he and and Sciortino made false statements under oath when testifying in that Cafaro lawsuit filed over the county's move from the Garland Plaza.

The indictment also says that Yavorcik filed false campaign reports and stated that he would fix cases in two Mahoning County court systems.

The business owners also allegedly paid for legal services rendered to McNally and Sciortino in attemps to influence them.

Then commissioner McNally also is accused of leaking confidential offer made by the county to a bankruptcy trustee to stop the purchase of some unnamed real estate. The building housing Oakhill was purchased in a bankruptcy sale. 
 
At a news conference held in Cleveland on Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty revealed indictments handed up by the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury.

The charges are as follows:

John McNally
1 count engaging in corrupt activity
2 counts conspiracy
2 counts bribery
6 counts tampering with records
9 counts perjury
1 count money laundering
2 counts telecommunication fraud
2 counts theft in office.
2 counts unlawful compensation
3 counts disclosing confidential information
4 counts prohibited acts

Michael Sciortino
1 count engaging in corrupt activity
2 counts conspiracy
2 counts bribery
4 counts tampering with records
6 counts perjury
1 count money laundering
2 counts unlawful compensation
4 counts prohibited acts
1 count engaging in corrupt activity

Martin Yavorcik
1 count engaging in corrupt activity
2 counts conspiracy
3 counts bribery
4 counts money laundering
17 counts tampering with records

The indictment says that the three took part in an enterprise engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity from January 2005 through January 31, 2014 related to the investigation into Mahoning County's purchase of the Oakhill building.

The indictment says that members of the enterprise include two unnamed businesses, two unnamed businessmen, one unnamed businesswoman, eight unnamed attorneys, three unnamed law firms, and four other people identified only as "John Does".

The indictment names, but does not charge several people and entities allegedly involved in the enterprise, including former director of Mahoning County's Jobs and Family Services John Zachariah, former Mahoning County Treasurer Lisa Antonini, former attorney Richard Goldberg, the Sciortino Law Firm, as well as the political campaign committees of McNally, Sciortino, Yavorcik and Antonini.

Antonini is in a Youngstown halfway house completing a five month sentence after pleading guilty to one count of honest services mail fraud for failing to report a $3,000 cash gift on a disclosure form mailed to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Sciortino characterized the timing of the announcement as a case of collusion between republican Attorney General Mike DeWine and local republicans to damage his re-election campaign. He vows to fight the charges.

Mayor McNally also said he had not heard about the indictment Wednesday morning.  He told 21 News reporter Michelle Nicks,"To be honest, if it's Oakhill, the drama continues is all I can say. I intend to stay in the position. My life as mayor will go on." said McNally. "I'm very disappointed and frustrated. I'm certainly not walking away from the job I was elected to to do."

Yavorcik's attorney, Bill Summers of Cleveland, told 21 News that he believes that the statute of limitations ran out in March, and promises to fight the charges "tooth and nail".

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor McGinty says, "We are going to actively pursue this and any other corruption allegations where the evidence supports it, and demands prosecution.  Details of these allegations will come out."

Ohio Attorney General DeWine tells 21 News, "This was done here in Cuyahoga County because there are elements of the alleged criminal conduct that took place here in Cuyahoga County."

Attorney General DeWine would not provide any further details about which alleged crimes occurred in the neighboring county.

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