More documents are filed secretly

By Peter H. Milliken


With a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday concerning secrecy in the Oakhill Renaissance Place criminal conspiracy case, more documents have been filed and sealed from public view.

Special Prosecutor Dennis P. Will filed under seal last week a bill of particulars for John B. Reardon, former Mahoning County treasurer, and an amended bill of particulars for John Zachariah, former county Job and Family Services director.

The initial bill of particulars that gives details of the charges against Zachariah was filed under seal by the special prosecutors Nov. 5.

Reardon and Zachariah are among eight defendants charged in a 73-count indictment with conspiring criminally to impede the move of JFS from Cafaro Co.-owned, rented quarters to Oakhill. The county bought Oakhill in 2006 and moved JFS there in 2007. Oakhill is the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.

Topics for Monday’s hearing will be a motion by The Vindicator and 21 WFMJ-TV to unseal the documents in the case and grant public- and media-access to them, and a motion by the Cafaro Co., which is one of the defendants charged with conspiracy, to dismiss the indictment.

To avoid pre-trial publicity he said might bias potential trial jurors, visiting Judge William H. Wolff Jr. ordered all non-routine documents in the case filed under seal so he can screen them before making all or parts of them public.

The Vindicator and WFMJ, however, are arguing that the public’s right to know is paramount and that the remedy for bias among potential jurors would be to move the trial to another Ohio county, if necessary.

Reardon is charged with one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, bribery and filing a false financial-disclosure statement with the Ohio Ethics Commission, and two counts each of conspiracy, perjury and conflict of interest.

Zachariah is charged with one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, bribery and tampering with records, two counts of conspiracy and three counts of perjury.

Before the judge issued his sealing order, the special prosecutors filed publicly a bill of particulars concerning two additional defendants, who are not charged with conspiracy. Those are Flora Cafaro and Atty. Martin Yavorcik, who are charged only with money laundering in connection with an allegedly concealed $15,000 gift she gave to Yavorcik’s unsuccessful 2008 campaign for county prosecutor.

Others indicted in the case are county Commissioner John A. McNally IV, Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., county Auditor Michael Sciortino, and two other Cafaro companies.

The Oakhill criminal trial is set to begin June 6, 2011.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.