Jamael Tito Brown, Democratic candidate for mayor, is calling on a primary- election opponent, John A. McNally IV, to provide and seek letters “from any level of the government that conclusively demonstrates you are no longer the target of a criminal investigation.”
McNally, an attorney who served as a Mahoning County commissioner and Youngstown law director, said there’s no reason to request letters because he isn’t being investigated. Also, he said he’s never received a letter or a telephone call from any law- enforcement officials regarding this issue.
“I deal with facts and not unsubstantiated rumors,” McNally said. “This issue has been put to bed. It’s curious it comes up two weeks before the election.”
“This isn’t politics,” said Brown, city-council president and a former city councilman and board of education member. “I’ve heard this more and more over the course of this race. There’s nervous energy with people going to the polls.”
McNally, the county Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate in the May 7 primary, was indicted in July 2010 on charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, perjury, bribery and disclosure of confidential information in connection with the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place.
The charges were dismissed in July 2011 at the request of special prosecutors who said their inability to obtain tape recordings held by the FBI supposedly related to the case made it impossible to proceed.
McNally, who strongly denies the charges, said the matter is over, ending nearly two years ago.
“We’ve responded to this issue” at numerous candidate forums, McNally said. “Political campaigns bring up all types of issues. I deal with the facts. This issue has been put to bed through the state dismissals.”
Brown said he constantly hears concerns about this issue from citizens while campaigning.
“Why hasn’t he asked for a letter” from investigators clearing his name? Brown asked. “If I was in that same situation, I would have asked about that before I got in the race. Citizens are asking me, and I’m tired of having to respond for him. He has not asked for a letter to show he’s been cleared.”
The two, along with Matthew Smith, are candidates in the May 7 Democratic primary. The winner moves on to the November general election.