By Ed Runyan
Though the judge in the Oakhill Renaissance Place criminal case has sealed most of the associated documents, it appears that videotaped depositions taken in early 2007 will play a role in an eventual trial.
Visiting Judge William H. Wolff Jr. issued a notice last month saying that prosecutors had turned over 16 DVDs to defense attorneys in what is called the discovery process.
That process gives a defendant and prosecutors the right to know what evidence the other side has available to use at trial.
The DVDs contain the videotaped depositions given by many of the principal participants in the 2007 trial that followed a complaint filed by the Cafaro Co., seeking to force Mahoning County commissioners to rescind the purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place. After a nonjury trial, a judge ruled against the Cafaro Co.
They include depositions given by John Zachariah, former Job and Family Services director; Michael V. Sciortino, county auditor; Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., retired Cafaro Co. president; George Tablack, county administrator; Lisa Antonini, county treasurer; John A. McNally IV, Mahoning County commissioner; John B. Reardon, former county treasurer; and J.J. Cafaro, retired Cafaro Co. vice president.
Of those individuals, Zachariah, Sciortino, Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., McNally and Reardon face criminal charges.
A 73-count indictment charges seven people and three business entities with corruption related to the Oakhill purchase.
Charges include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, perjury, bribery, money laundering, tampering with records, disclosure of confidential information, conflict of interest, filing a false financial-disclosure statement and soliciting or accepting improper compensation.
The depositions were given between February 2007 and June 2007.
Paul M. Nick, a special prosecutor in the Oakhill case and chief investigative counsel for the Ohio Ethics Commission, told The Vindicator in September that the Oakhill criminal case stemmed from a referral from Paul J. Gains, county prosecutor, to the ethics commission.
Nick said the perjury counts against McNally, Reardon, Sciortino and Zachariah, for instance, allege that the four lied under oath in the videotaped depositions they gave before the civil trial.
In a document Judge Wolfe did release, prosecutors allege that Flora Cafaro, part owner of the Cafaro Co., gave Atty. Martin Yavorcik more money in 2008 than the $40,000 that was officially reported for her contribution to his political campaign.
Flora Cafaro and Yavorcik are also under indictment in the Oakhill case, charged with money laundering but none of the other alleged offenses.