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Honor your oath of secrecy, Oakhill grand jurors told

Published: Fri, October 15, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.


Visiting Judge William H. Wolff Jr.


George A. Stamboulidis, left, back to camera, lawyer for Anthony M. Cafaro Sr.; John F. McCaffrey, center, lawyer for the Ohio Valley Mall Co. and the Marion Plaza Inc.; and Martin G. Weinberg, another Cafaro lawyer, huddle at the Thursday hearing in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Visiting Judge Wolff summoned grand jurors to the courthouse, where he admonished them to keep their oath of secrecy to avoid breaches.

By Peter H. Milliken



A visiting judge overseeing the Oakhill Renaissance Place case reminded grand jurors they must adhere to their secrecy oaths.

On just over two hours’ notice, Judge William H. Wolff Jr. had the nine grand jurors summoned Thursday afternoon to the Mahoning County Courthouse, where he delivered the reminder. That session was behind closed doors, but recorded by a court stenographer.

The visiting judge is hearing the case of an alleged criminal conspiracy between some Mahoning County officials and the Cafaro Co. to prevent or delay the move of the county’s Department of Job and Family Services to Oakhill.

About a dozen defense and prosecuting attorneys attended a 45-minute hearing in open court Thursday. That hearing was in response to a motion by Cafaro Co. lawyers seeking court action to address what they said appeared to be violations of grand-jury secrecy.

The alleged breaches occurred in an anonymous letter to Vindicator Columnist Bertram de Souza from someone claiming to have been an Oakhill grand juror and from Vindy.com postings.

The Cafaro lawyers say these breaches generate additional pretrial publicity, which threatens the defendants’ right to a fair trial.

Atty. Martin G. Weinberg of Boston, who represents Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., said he sought “to prevent future breaches of grand jury secrecy.” Weinberg said he believes one grand juror actually wrote the letter, and another wrote the web postings.

The web postings “repeatedly breached grand jury secrecy,” Weinberg said.

The anonymous letter, Weinberg said, “is a separate stand-alone breach of grand jury secrecy.”

Weinberg said the special Oakhill prosecutors informed him the author of the web postings told Detective Gary Snyder of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department that he (the web poster) was not the author of the anonymous letter.

“We simply can’t allow breaches of grand jury secrecy to go unrectified and uninvestigated and simply run the risk of their being repeated and re-echoed,” Weinberg said.

“We have an unfortunate and problematic expression by a grand juror. That’s conceded. We understand that,” said David P. Muhek, a special Oakhill prosecutor from Lorain County.

Muhek added, however, “There was no evidence released. There was no testimony released. There was an expression of opinion. We don’t believe that rises to the level of a matter coming before the grand jury that is subject to this oath of secrecy.”

Muhek suggested the best remedy was for Judge Wolff to instruct grand jurors not to discuss the case publicly.

The eight defendants charged with conspiracy and other offenses are Cafaro Sr., former president of the Cafaro Co.; the Cafaro Co. and two of its affiliates, the Ohio Valley Mall Co. and the Marion Plaza Inc., county Commissioner John A. McNally IV; county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino; former county Treasurer John B. Reardon; and John Zachariah, former county JFS director.

JFS moved to Oakhill in 2007 from Cafaro Co.-owned rented quarters on the city’s East Side. Oakhill, which the county bought in 2006, is the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.

Two other defendants, Flora Cafaro, part-owner of the Cafaro Co. and sister of Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., and Atty. Martin Yavorcik, are charged only with money-laundering in connection with a concealed gift of $15,000 investigators allege she gave to Yavorcik’s unsuccessful 2008 campaign for county prosecutor.

The grand jury returned its 73-count indictment in the Oakhill case July 28.


11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Red Herring. White Elephant. Bait and Switch. Hocus Pocus.

Uh-oh, I better be careful that this isn't interpreted that I have inside information from the Cafaro legal strategy.

FREE JJ! Never mind. He already is.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"The Cafaro lawyers say these breaches generate additional pretrial publicity, which threatens the defendants’ right to a fair trial."

Thou shall hear no evil and find the Cafaros as innocent as a newborn babe .

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3author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Give The Cafaro Family Crime Syndicate what they want -- move the trial to Dublin, Ohio. How about Springfield, Ohio? No jurors there will be tainted by postings on a web site.

Imagine the court argument by the defense lawyers.

"Everyday potential jurors in Mahoning County sprint to their keyboards of their PC's to see what has been posted on Vindy.com. about my clients. It's not fair! Just the other day there were 3 postings!"

Just when you think lawyers cant get any lower along comes Weinberg, et al to throw a motion that the web postings are hurting their clients.

MEMO to Weinberg -- you should ask Michael... excuse me Anthony Sr. for his copies of the Belinky board postings about his clients. Boy those postings really hurt the Cafaro family.

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4dadriver(6 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

What about all the crooked public officials that are indicted. These people stole and pissed away our tax money and all you people can do is go after the Cafaro's. They have money and you don't, so everyone wants them in jail. Did a little birdie drop down and give them 34 million sq ft of retail space? NO, they bulit their company to what is today, that's why they have money. Oakhill was a total mistake and waste of money. Get over it!!!!

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5Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

If your name was granddaddriver you might be of an age to know how they made thier money. If you were a contractor about , say, forty years ago and you did work for this SYNDICATE odds are you got STIFFED on about 30% of your bill. Just ask any OLDTIMER that did work for them, they will tell you. Edward Senior did the same thing, that is how these type of people get rich.

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6dadriver(6 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Everyone in Youngstown did buisness like that 40 years ago. After the first few contractors got stiffed nobody should have done buisness with them. Debartolo was a scum when it came to paying his contractors, everyone knows that. By the way, were not talking about 40 years ago, were talking about 2010.

What about the other people indicted? I just can't believe everyone comes on here and nothing is said about the public officials that are involved. I'm not saying the Cafaro's are angels, but without political corruption these things don't happen. Everyone of these public officials involved should go to jail, PERIOD!! Mahoning county should also have to pay back the taxpayers for this Oakhill abortion.

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Has anyone seen po old Maureen Cronin ? They ( CAFAROS ) gave Judge Maureen Cronin a bribe ( AKA INTEREST FREE LOAN WITH NO PAYBACK ) and then kicked her under the bus . Maureen is doing the time and the Cafaros got away with doing the crime .

Youngstown News, Cronin gets 27 months for taking Cafaro loanAKRON — Ex-Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen A. Cronin was ...

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8dadriver(6 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

She was a public official and broke an oath and the law. That's why she is in jail.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

dadriver :

"She was a public official and broke an oath and the law. That's why she is in jail. "

The Cafaros have broken plenty of laws and they shed jail time like teflon sheds water .

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10escapee(43 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Move everything out of the county in order not to taint a set of jurors, but let the public know how "STINKY" the CAFARO pigs have made the public institutions.

If they are found innocent because they laid there cash on the jury - at least the public will know how the community leaders LEAD in the community. Maybe everybody but CAFARO's will pick up and move and CAFARO can have the town to himself.

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11Fromtheoutsidelookingin(2 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Allow me to ask a question: If the Cafaro Company and family were to move out of Youngstown, would the city be better or worse?

Allow me to answer a question: Seeing as how they are the largest locally owned company (by value) paying the insane 2.75 percent city income tax, the over-inflated property taxes and employing several hundred area residents, the city would be worse for it.

Many of you seem to have a large case of envy. I am not sure if you are envious because they have more than you, or because you feel that somehow they don't work as hard as you do. Well I'm sure they do and they do. Time to get over it.

I offer these words of caution: Be careful what you wish for. If that company leaves the city, let alone the Youngstown area, the effects will further devastate an area that can ill afford it.

Innocence is presumed until guilt is proven in a court of law, after a fair and impartial hearing by a jury of peers. Keep that in mind folks. I'm sure you would want the same if were you.

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12escapee(43 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Cafaro's enployee 200+ creeps and misfits, and the company is a breeding ground for public corruption and criminal activity. I would be surprised if the properties in Youngstown are over valued - and the income taxes are paid by the employees - not the Cafaro's.

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13escapee(43 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Suggestions for Public Prosecutors (1) compare transcript to actual witness testimony. (watch for omissions to transcript)
(2) watch for altered time stamp by Clerk of Courts
(3) watch for the submission of fake records to the Court by the parties
(4) watch for fraudulent testimony of public officials
(5) and don't be surprised if the parties give the visiting judge a loan that is never repaid.
(6) Be prepared for this "Visiting Judge to use the playbook of Judge Marcus exemplified in the Flask public corruption trial. (Former Cafaro employee)
(7) Courts record will be tampered with and court file will have records missing as the night employee's will accidentally misplace records.
(8) witnesses will be intimidated and won't get notices to appear due to errors of nighttime shift of Clerk of Courts
(9) Be prepared if witnesses named in the sealed allegataions get "alzheimers" and those that are willing to testify to the truth will be intimidated by public officials for their lifetime and their credibility will destroyed by false accusations or false records (kind of like they are doing to the grand jury members)
(10) Any record or worksheet produced by ODJFS will not match the internal source documents as they are altered by ODJFS employees hired upon recommendation of the public officials that are parties

Visit noethics.net

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14wraz(15 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

ah.... the same old crew getting off at wee hours running down everyone they are jealous of...escapee and the goof with the picture of Hulk Hogan...lol says a lot to me...love to spend some time in the cage with you Hulk....Is there anything that can be said to change the paradigm of a poverty mentality group like you? You have no damn idea what you are even talking about but you sit with your fat belly hanging over your shorts collecting welfare spewing all your wisdom taking shots at people with an incredible work ethic .....they obviously mistakenly THOUGHT they were appreciated in the most embarrassing area on the planet...what the heck have you accomplished in this Valley? I can bet its nothing.....you are sick and need mental help and really want to see the comments when several years have gone by WITHOUT that company in town...ha ha ha ha ha

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