A federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Northern Ohio has denied the request of former Niles mayor Ralph Infante to have his conviction dropped.

Infante was convicted on numerous charges stemming from corruption during his time as Niles mayor including tampering with records, gambling, operating a gambling house, theft in office, having unlawful interest in a public contract, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and falsification.

He went on trial for these charges back in 2018 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

During his trial, the court heard testimony from city employees with one testifying about a time when he paid a woman for two generators and a power washer without going through Council.

The employee testified that between 2009 and 2010, the woman showed up in a parking lot next to City Hall and the street department and offered the items for $50,000. When she asked if this purchase had to go through Council, Infante replied "it just did." 

Another employee, identified as Scott Schaffer, testified that he had offered Infante $1,800 to get a job in the city, but raised the offer to $2,500 when he was told that was too low.

Schaffer further testified that he paid Infante $3,000 for a job for his girlfriend and got a promotion by purchasing a TV set and air conditioner for his ITAM club in Girard.

Schaffer was originally charged in this case with theft in office before agreeing to become a cooperating witness. He testified that when he got worried about the investigation and getting convicted, Infante told him "Don't worry about it. I own the judges in this town. They ain't got a thing. It will go away."

Other testimony came from Phantom Fireworks CEO Bruce Zoldan who discussed a time when Infante purchased $75,000 worth of tickets for an Ohio State championship football game in 2007 and listed them as gifts from Anthony Cafaro.

Zoldan testified that Infante bought the tickets and Cafaro had reimbursed him for several of those tickets. Infante never reported this purchase or reimbursement on his financial disclosure forms as required when running for office.

In 2021, Infante's attorney's filed an appeal asking the judge to drop his corruption conviction arguing that he was charged as part of a criminal enterprise involving several people, but his conviction is based solely on his own conduct.

You can read much more about all of these testimonies, Infante's conviction and his appeal to the conviction in our related coverage below.