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Will judge seek to out the villain?

Published: Sun, June 8, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Although two prominent officeholders and a Youngstown lawyer are the main characters in Act 1 of the “Oakhill Renaissance Place Conspiracy,” there’s an unidentified villain who already has stolen the show.

In the script (read that, “The Indictment”), he is referred to only as “Businessman 1,” but plow through the 67 pages and you’ll find that without him there would be no conspiracy and, therefore, no play (read that, trial).

So, while Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and Atty. Martin Yavorcik get ready to defend themselves against the slew of state criminal charges triggered by their roles in “Businessman 1’s” scheme to undermine the county’s purchase of Oak- hill Renaissance Place (the former Southside Medical Center), speculation abounds as to which one will do like a canary and start singing.

Pre-trial hearings have begun in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office leading the prosecution of McNally et al.

Political corruption case

If there is a plea deal, let’s hope that Judge Janet R. Burnside has read the transcript from a political corruption case in Washington, D.C., involving Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Here’s how the Washington Post reported on the proceedings:

“The federal judge presiding over the case against a D.C. businessman behind an illegal, off-the-books effort for Mayor Vincent C. Gray ordered prosecutors to publicly name the mayor in court, finding that Gray’s campaign was central to the case.

“Gray has not been charged with any crime, and prosecutors told the judge that it would be potentially unfair to name him during the hearing, according to a court order unsealed Monday. The office of U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. wanted to identify Gray only as ‘Mayoral Candidate A,’ according to the opinion.”

The Post story went on to say that U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the government to identify the mayor because he and his campaign were integral to the misconduct that the businessman admitted to in his plea agreement with prosecutors.

“Mr. Gray and his campaign are not extraneous, but ‘necessary, material [and] relevant’” to the businessman’s conspiracy to subvert campaign- finance laws, the judge’s order stated.

The parallels between the Washington, D.C., case and the “Oakhill Renaissance Place Conspiracy” are plain as day.

Here’s what the McNally-Sciortino-Yavorcik indictment said about the mastermind:

“Businessman 1 … was also involved in providing benefit to certain Mahoning County official(s) by being involved in the paying of legal services for such officials or authorizing such payment when such payment was made in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and/or Geauga County, Ohio, for services, advice or research that was done in Cuyahoga County, Geauga County and Mahoning County, Ohio. This person also provided a benefit to Martin Yavorcik from November of 2007 to November of 2008 to run for county prosecutor so that an investigation and/or prosecution involving him and others could be quashed. He also gave John Doe 1 two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) cash in 2008 when John Doe 1 was a candidate for election and did provide Lisa Antonini with three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) in cash in January of 2008.”

The indictment noted that Businessman 1 owned and operated a plaza in Youngstown.

Connect the dots and it’s safe to conclude that the prosecutors are talking about Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., the retired president of the Cafaro Co., which owned Garland Plaza (McGuffey Mall) on the East Side.

JFS relocation

The plaza had housed the county’s Job and Family Services agency for decades, but Commissioner Anthony Traficanti and former Commissioner David Ludt wanted to move it out of the rundown facility. They decided the county would buy the former Southside Medical Center and turn it into a government center. McNally, a commissioner at the time, opposed the purchase.

Although all signs point to Cafaro being “Businessman 1”, prosecutors have not confirmed his identity.

They should either indict him and the 19 other members of the criminal enterprise, or Judge Burnside should order the prosecutors to name him in open court.


1greevey(23 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

It is fitting that Bertram compares the indictment to a play - a work of fiction. With the encouragement of Gains and his local cohorts, the state AG and his Cuyahoga lackeys are more than willing to ride into town as the white knight and slayer of all that is evil. Truth be told, the latest group of prosecutors care nothing about the truth and they care nothing about this valley. All they truly want is to cast this town as incompetent and irrelevant to the rest of the state. If they were really interested in justice, they’d be investigating those who supported the Oakhill purchase which is now a $20+ million financial disaster. Either these supporters were involved in their own conspiracy, or they're just incompetent and carelessly squandered the county’s financial future. McNally & Sciortino at least were intelligent enough to look at the facts and costs about owning a century old building. Just because they disagreed with Trafficanti, Ludt, and Tablack isn’t criminal. It was their job! So yes, Bertram, this latest saga is like a play. But like the out of town prosecutors, you too are a member of the cast. Your motives in regurgitating the same story each week are self-serving. You aren’t interested in the truth because it doesn’t fit your script. You are fixated on attacking Cafaro simply because he is wealthy, successful, and has done more positive for this town than you or the Vindicator ever have or ever will. As Shakespeare wrote, “the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” You, Bertram, are indeed the devil!

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2Roger_Thornhill(1052 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

What about the perjury?

How did perjury (allegedly) seek to stop the sale?

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3Silence_Dogood(1663 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Broken record maybe,but not the devil. The devil would not be afraid to say who johndoe4 is. The cowards at the vindy know who she is and can understand what the claims against her are but yet we hear nothing but silence from them in regards to who that elected official is . They won't even give us taxpayers the courtesy of asking her on the record what she thinks of those claims. I would ask her myself but she never takes call from the public, unless of course your last name is Cafaro.

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4jen99(8 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

The same analysis could be done on the Suarez trial, albeit Mandel and Renacci have been named. However, they have not been charged?

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5Roger_Thornhill(1052 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

John Doe 4 is a MAN not a woman. If John Doe 4 were a woman the govt would refer to her as Jane Doe 4. Pretty basic.

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6republicanRick(1700 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Oakhill was a good move. The building is solid, has room for expansion. And, most importantly, it keeps the welfare and food stamp departments out of the downtown business and entertainment district. This was the original idea and recommendation by consultants back in the 1980's to get these departments out of downtown and moved to the East Side.
Oakhill keeps this original goal in mind while providing a centrally located building with plenty of parking for those that need government assistance.
The downtown area is now enjoying a rebirth so the strategy worked.

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