First pretrial in political corruption case yields few results

By David Skolnick


McNally, Sciortino, Yavorcik indictment

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73-count indictment against Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and Youngstown attorney Marty Yavorcik.

The first pretrial for Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and attorney Martin Yavorcik, who are facing a total of 83 political corruption charges, was uneventful and quick.

Attorneys for McNally and Sciortino participated in Thursday’s hearing by phone, while Yavorcik’s attorneys, Jennifer Scott and William Summers, were in the judge’s chambers along with lawyers from the Ohio Attorney General’s and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s offices.

“Not much happened,” Scott said. “It was what I figured would happen.”

Judge Janet R. Burnside of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, who is overseeing the cases, set the next pretrial date for 9 a.m. June 20, said Sandra Kormos, her bailiff.

Thursday’s hearing lasted about 20 to 30 minutes, and the main topic was getting discovery evidence to the defendants’ attorneys, Kormos said.

“The next hearing will be to determine if everyone is receiving discovery,” she said.

“It’s going to take some time to receive the documents and information from the government,” Scott said. “I’m hoping it will be done by June 20, but I’m not holding my breath.”

The attorneys are seeking bills of particulars against their clients. Those documents would provide more-detailed information about the charges against the three.

Prosecutors “said they’d provide them, but didn’t say when,” Scott said.

No trial date has been set.

The three are charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and tampering with records.

The indictment specifically mentions the efforts of an unnamed businessman — likely Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., the retired head of the Cafaro Co. retail development business — to improperly use several public officials, including McNally and Sciortino, to keep the Mahoning County Job and Family Services department at a property his company owned.

McNally was the sole dissenter when the other county commissioners, Anthony Traficanti and David N. Ludt, voted in May 2006 in favor of relocating JFS from Cafaro’s Garland Plaza on Youngstown’s East Side to Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.

The indictment contends McNally and Sciortino conspired and received benefits for opposing the relocation. Yavorcik is accused of accepting money from the businessman, Sciortino, McNally and others, and in exchange agreed not to investigate or prosecute members of the enterprise if he were elected county prosecutor in 2008, the indictment claims.

The indictment accuses McNally, during his time as a Mahoning County commissioner, Sciortino and Yavorcik of being in a criminal enterprise that traded money and other financial benefits for political favors, lied under oath to protect business interests, and agreed to fix legal cases. The three say they’re innocent of the charges.

McNally and Sciortino are Democrats, while Yavorcik is an independent.

John Juhasz, who represents Sciortino, requested a postponement of today’s pretrial as he is defending Aubrey Toney in a capital murder case in Mahoning County.

Judge Burnside rejected that request.

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