Prosecutors share 576 hours of Oakhill-related tapes with defense

By Peter H. Milliken


The prosecution in the Oakhill Renaissance Place criminal conspiracy case has provided the defense with 576 hours of tapes and many documents including John A. McNally’s fax of Mahoning County’s offer to purchase Oakhill to a law firm representing the Cafaro Co.

McNally, a former Mahoning County commissioner and now Youngstown mayor, provided the county’s confidential offer to purchase Oak-hill to Ulmer and Berne of Cleveland, a newly filed court document says.

The document, filed Wednesday, is the prosecution’s notice that it has provided partial discovery to the defense in the Oakhill case, which is being prosecuted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

In the Oakhill case, McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael V. Sciortino and Atty. Martin Yavorcik are defendants in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Yavorcik was an unsuccessful candidate for Mahoning County prosecutor in 2008.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty, and no trial date has been announced.

The case alleges a conspiracy to impede the move of the county’s Department of Job and Family Services from rented quarters in the then-Cafaro Co.-owned Garland Plaza on the city’s East Side to Oakhill.

The county bought Oakhill for $75,000 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2006 and moved JFS there the following year.

Sciortino withheld the $75,000 check until a judge ordered him to release it in July 2007.

Oakhill is the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.

A perjury charge against McNally alleges he lied under oath when he denied giving anyone a copy of the county’s Oakhill purchase offer.

The prosecution says McNally, while he was a county commissioner, faxed the county’s Oakhill offer from McNally’s law office to Ulmer and Berne on July 18, 2006.

That firm represented the Cafaro Co. in its unsuccessful civil lawsuit that sought to rescind the county’s purchase of Oakhill.

The fax and its destination is referred to in the bill of particulars the prosecution filed in the Cleveland Oakhill criminal prosecution in June.

In Wednesday’s court document, the prosecution said it has provided the defense 576 hours of recordings from two confidential sources made between 2005 and 2010 and summaries of recordings made by a third confidential source.

The material was provided in the pretrial process of evidence exchange, known as discovery.

The Oakhill case previously was indicted in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in 2010 and dismissed the following year because the prosecution was then unable to obtain tapes from the FBI, which it was legally obligated to provide to the defense in discovery.

The Oakhill case was indicted again in Cleveland in May of this year.

The partial discovery package announced this week contains more than 100 gigabytes of evidence, Daniel Kasaris, an assistant Ohio attorney general, and Timothy J. McGinty, Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said in the court document.

Among the items the prosecution said it has provided to the defense are bank, bankruptcy, phone, tax, Ohio Ethics Commission, and Mahoning County Board of Elections records, reports from law enforcement and interviews with witnesses.

Also included are records provided by the Cafaro Co., Ulmer and Berne, McNally and Sciortino.

Lawyers for McNally, Sciortino and Yavorcik did not respond to a request for comment.

“There are a lot of charges [73 counts] in the indictment, and the state obviously believes there is a significant amount of evidence, and we have an obligation to provide that to the defense as part of discovery,” said Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

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