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Oakhill corruption case: Perjury, bribery charges detailed

Published: Thu, June 12, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.




A 145-page bill of particulars includes the first disclosure of secret tape-recordings of those involved in the political corruption case of Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and attorney Martin Yavorcik.

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Bill of Particulars

Bill of Particulars pertaining to the indictment of John McNally, Michael Sciortino, and Martin Yavorcik.

The document, filed Wednesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, included partial transcripts of conversations in early 2008 between an “informant” given the initials “CW” — presumably for “Confidential Witness” ­— and Yavorcik.

There’s also a partial transcript of a separate conversation the informant had with Richard Goldberg, a felon and former attorney who worked on Yavorcik’s failed 2008 independent bid for Mahoning County prosecutor.

It was the discovery of the existence of tape recordings made by the FBI which led a judge to dismiss the previous 73-count Oakhill indictment involving many of the same defendants in July 2011. The FBI wouldn’t provide about 2,000 hours of recordings reportedly involving at least one defendant.

The bill of particulars, which provides more-detailed information about the charges against the three, was sought by the attorneys of the three accused as they mount a defense against the 83 total charges that include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, bribery, perjury, money laundering and tampering with records.

The document states in a March 1, 2008, conversation with the informant that Yavorcik acknowledged county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains had initiated an investigation of several people.

That list included Sciortino and McNally, both Democrats, as well as former county Treasurer John Reardon, then-county Treasurer Lisa Antonini, who was also Mahoning Democratic chairwoman, and “Businessman 1,” who likely is Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., retired head of the Cafaro Co. retail development business.

Prosecutor documents say Yavorcik promised to make the investigation against them go away if he was elected county prosecutor.

Informant: “Paul’s gonna maybe come down on all of them. Try to come after them, so [Antonini] said, you know, you promised that you’d watch out for them on that because...”

Yavorcik: “Well, of course.”

Informant: “Yeah, so she is, she says I know I can count on Marty on that so. Cause that’s Sciortino, that’s Reardon, that’s McNally...”

Yavorcik: “The whole crew.”

Later on, the informant said, “Now when you have people talking about being able to put in this $100,000 for you, that’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?”

Yavorcik: “Yeah.”

Cafaro, his sister, Flora, who is likely Businesswoman 1 in the indictment, and their brother, J.J., each gave $40,000 in legal contributions to Yavorcik’s failed campaign. Yavorcik is accused of accepting $15,000 from Businesswoman 1 for a poll while reporting on campaign-finance documents that it was his money, according to the bill and the indictment.

The transcript of the Goldberg conversation has him saying there was a rumor that Yavorcik was going to run, and that Gains was going to blame Goldberg because of his relationship with Yavorcik.

The indictment contends McNally, Sciortino and Yavorcik, along with others, were part of a criminal enterprise that conspired to keep the Mahoning County Job and Family Services department at Cafaro’s Garland Plaza on Youngstown’s East Side.

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

The indictment and bill of particulars contend McNally, county commissioner at the time, and Sciortino 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 and bill of particulars say.

Later in the conversation with Yavorcik, the informant said, “I mean, there’s you know, and you know if this, if you don’t win, not just Lisa, Mike Sciortino and McNally. They’ll go after [former Mahoning County Democratic Chairman Mike] Morley, they’ll go after the Cafaros, they’re gonna go after everybody.”

Yavorcik: “Oh, we gotta win.”

The bill also contends Businessman 1, Business 1 — which is likely the Cafaro Co. — and Business 2 — likely a Cafaro Co. subsidiary — provided at least $219,449 in free legal fees, considered bribes, to McNally, Sciortino and “John Doe 2.”

“John Doe 2” is likely Reardon, accused of improperly accepting free legal fees in the 2010 indictment.

The bill of particulars said Businessman 1’s company paid another law firm more than $800,000 in legal fees related to the Garland Plaza issue.

“In return, the various elected officials, public officials or public servants acted in a way showing that they had been compromised, corrupted or that another was acting with a purpose to improperly influence them,” the bill of particulars reads.

The document also accuses Businessman 1 of numerous criminal acts though he hasn’t been indicted on any charges. On a perjury allegation related to a case to stop the relocation of JFS, the bill lists 11 pieces of evidence. One of those pieces is a list of 13 meetings from Aug. 21, 2006, to April 26, 2007, in which he met with parties and witnesses in that lawsuit.

The bill provides details on allegations about McNally and Sciortino committing perjury in the same case.

Under oath, McNally said he denied having any discussions with the businessman or the Cleveland law firm of Ulmer & Berne about the case.

The bill, however, details nine pieces of evidence — including an email from one of the firm’s attorneys to others about a discussion with McNally — that disputes the claim.

During a 2007 hearing, Sciortino said under oath that he hadn’t contacted the businessman between November 2005 and May or June 2006 meetings about Garland or Oakhill.

But Businessman 1 said he met with Sciortino on Dec. 2, 2005, and had four telephone conversations — including three on April 24, 2006, — with the auditor, the bill states. Also, the businessman said Sciortino wrote a note, dated Nov. 6, 2005, that reads: “It was an absolute honor meeting you at your office last week. I truly appreciate your help. Please stop by on the 20th if you can!”

Lynn Maro, McNally’s attorney, declined to discuss the bill of particulars. Attorneys for Sciortino and Yavorcik couldn’t be reached Wednesday by The Vindicator to comment.

The case is being handled by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office with assistance from the office of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. The next pretrial hearing in this case is June 20.

McGinty along with assistant prosecutors from his office, attorneys from the AG’s office and investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation came to Youngstown on Friday to tour Oakhill.

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