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Oakhill corruption case: Perjury, bribery charges detailed



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

By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

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.

Download as PDF:
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.


Comments

1parlayhenry(219 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This case always was a slam dunk. And it's just getting started.

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2tafy(69 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

And everyone ate their cookies and milk and went to bed. Because they are all innocent. Of course so was Nixon and all the others who stood tall in the shadow of justice. Do us taxpayers a favor. You were elected by the people. Now do them a favor and plead guilty for your crap and save us some money. It just never changes in Y-Town. So sad

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3eagleye(58 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The legacy and history of the Mahoning and Trumbull Counties is scumbag, corrupt politicians and parasitic, maggot "public servants" picking the bones of a near dead carcass.

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42muchtax(307 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Let's hook they hang Jj,flora and Anthony cacao, the real criminals! These 3 are just 3 more democratic morons in a long list of them selling thier soul for $$ and this is getting stressful tJ Assion fire up the sherriff taxi!

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5redvert(2048 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The end result will be a slap on the wrist for each of them and the voters will reelect any that come up for reelection. After all, they are democrats and especially if they receive the prized honor of being deemed a "endorsed democrat".

Dummies, "When nothing changes, nothing changes"

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6DwightK(1238 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yeah, these guys are done. McNally and Sciortino should resign immediately. Residents deserve better leadership than what they are receiving.

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7CountryGirl51(192 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If the mayor is found guilty then he should not remain mayor. I hope the Cafaros finally get what is coming to them after all these yrs. And those found guilty, i hope they get what is coming to them ! We need to clean up this city !

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8listener(103 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

They need to make a deal now and get out before it's too late. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on defending themselves won't make this go away. The real tragedy here is that Oakhill was and is a bad deal for the county.

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9billdog1(941 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Seems to me like people implicating others. I'd like to see some actual evidence. This is why I was thrown out last time. He said she said.

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10Knightcap(683 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Just a pass another sales tax and this will all go away.

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11iBuck(213 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"The FBI wouldn't provide about 2K hours of recordings"

What!?! The judges there can't issue warrants and sub poenas?

Or is this a sign of more corruption local, state, and federal? ("Sure, we've recorded without warrants every phone conversation even the meek underdog Shoeshine ever made, and regularly use such for political blackmail and extortion, but we're not going to release to the court those revealing the corruption of 'our guys'.")

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12Notorious_Pig(93 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

What SHOULD happen: Everyone resign immediately and face trial. Based on the evidence they have, all of these folks would be found guilty and would have to serve 100 years!

What WILL happen: Everyone keeps their jobs and will go to trail. Based on the evidence they have, but will not use (or lose, or misplace, or 'forget about'), all of these folks will be let off, scott-free, and the corruption and shady-dealings will continue for the next 100 years!

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13Silence_Dogood(1320 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Move along, move along, nothing happening here.
Just Democrat's doing what Democrat's do.
Move along.

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14walter_sobchak(1857 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

When Don Hanni ran the party, people complained that all the politicians were crooked. (Remember Mike Pope and his shenanigans with county taxes?). Hanni gets ousted and Twinkle Toes Morley gets in. Names change but he same cesspool with more indictments and convictions. Then Antonini followed by the Ambulance Chaser with new names (and some names from the same families) and we get new indictments and we will have more imprisonments! I swear that when the alarm went off this morning, I heard Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You, Babe"! Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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15JS(588 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"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."

The $800,000 is a lot of money spent that accomplished nothing. In comparison to what the goverment will spend on this case that amount will be miniscule and will also accomplish nothing. Taking the taxpayers to the cleaners is not justice.

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16ytown67(22 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If you people think what the State has is even remotely incriminating you are all just easily swayed. The bill of particulars has nothing but innuendo and weak evidence at best. The only person who truly did anything wrong is Yavorcik. And he can beat his charges on a Statute of limitations. So watch and learn why the State has such a hatred for these guys who we're standing up for you the taxpayer. Oak hill has cost more than 20 million just like they said.

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17formerytowngirl(1 comment)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I haven't lived in y-town for > 30 years and am just an occasional Vindicate reader so tell me....is it common practice for the Vindicator to release partial potential evidence before a jury is convened or is it a routine practice to try to taint potential jurors before jury selection? ( Yeah, I know the case is "all" the way in Cleveland and Y-towners would never treck to the gambling or sports joints in Cleveland or have no relatives there so how could the Vindicator influence the jury pool?)

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18uptowngirl(105 comments)posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Without the offer of a bribe there would be no case. Another day of the How the Stomach Churns in Thugstown. Crime is the only thing that makes this town interesting.

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