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Indictments tied to Oakhill Renaissance Place case

Published: Thu, May 15, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.

By David Skolnick


  Mayor,Auditor, and Attorney Indicted

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced a 83-count indictment against Youngstown Mayor John McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino, and Youngstown Attorney Marty Yavorcik in Cleveland Wednesday afternoon

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced a 83-count indictment against Youngstown Mayor John McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino, and Youngstown Attorney Marty Yavorcik in Cleveland Wednesday afternoon

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McNally, Sciortino, Yavorcik indictment

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


After reading off 83 criminal counts in an indictment charging Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and attorney Martin Yavorcik with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, bribery, perjury and money laundering, Attorney General Mike DeWine said: “We are not done.”

Based on the information provided in a 67-page indictment released Wednesday after a Cuyahoga County grand jury investigation, there are a number of people — most of them not named, but descriptions that make some not difficult to identify — who could be next.

“The case is still under investigation,” DeWine said. “Whether there will be additional charges, I simply cannot tell you at this moment.”

DeWine and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced the results of the grand-jury investigation into Mahoning County political corruption. The indictments came as a surprise — even to McNally and Sciortino, who learned they were targets of the criminal investigation and were to be indicted from a Vindicator reporter about 10:30 a.m., almost four hours before the official announcement. The impending indictments were first reported on Vindy.com, the newspaper’s website.

McNally and Sciortino, both Democrats, said neither they nor their attorneys were contacted by the attorney general’s office about the existence of a grand jury and criminal investigation.

Neither has any intention of resigning.

McNally is accused in the indictment of wrongdoing as a county commissioner and not in his current job as Youngstown mayor so that state law doesn’t apply to him, DeWine said.

When asked if he should have been contacted by prosecutors, McNally said before the indictment, “You would think that would be nice, but nothing surprises me anymore.”

DeWine said he was under no obligation to inform those charged that they were being investigated.

Most of the charges are related to those who opposed the county’s purchase of the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center, now called Oakhill Renaissance Place. The others are related to illegal campaign contributions.

The felony charges reportedly committed by McNally are one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two counts of conspiracy, two counts of bribery, six counts of tampering with records, nine counts of perjury, one count of money laundering, two of telecommunications fraud, two counts of theft in office and nine misdemeanors.

Sciortino faces 16 felony counts — one of engaging in pattern of corrupt activity, two of conspiracy, two bribery, four tampering with records, six perjury, one money laundering; and six misdemeanors.

Yavorcik’s counts are all felonies: one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two conspiracy, three bribery, 17 tampering with records and four money laundering.

A Mahoning County grand jury in 2010 indicted five people — ãincluding McNally and Sciortino — ã and three companies — the Cafaro Co. and two subsidiaries — with conspiring to impede the move of the county Department of Job and Family Services from the Garland Plaza to Oakhill.

Also indicted in 2010 were former county Treasurer John B. Reardon, former Cafaro Co. President Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., and John Zachariah, the former JFS director.

Yavorcik and Flora Cafaro, then a part owner of the Cafaro Co., were not charged in the conspiracy, but were indicted for money laundering pertaining to a purportedly concealed $15,000 payment she made to Yavorcik during his failed 2008 campaign for county prosecutor.

But special prosecutors from Lorain County and the Ohio Ethics Commission asked a visiting judge to dismiss the case because of their inability to obtain tape recordings from the FBI and provide them to the defense making it impossible to proceed. The judge dismissed that 73-count indictment in July 2011 without prejudice, meaning the charges could be re-filed later.

Among the 28 people and businesses listed by name in the latest indictment Wednesday as being part of a purported criminal enterprise are Zachariah; Richard Goldberg, a felon and former attorney; and Lisa Antonini, a former county treasurer and county

Democratic Party chairwoman convicted of taking an unreported $3,000 campaign contribution. She is cooperating with law enforcement investigating political corruption in the county and has said in the past that Sciortino and Yavorcik were her closest friends.

DeWine declined to say if Antonini provided information helpful to this investigation.

Based on information in the first Oakhill indictment, other criminal documents, and descriptions in Wednesday’s indictment, “Businessman 1” likely is Anthony M. Cafaro Sr. and “Businesswoman 1” likely is Flora Cafaro.

The indictment alleges that Businessman 1 “provided a benefit” to Yavorcik so if he was elected prosecutor the investigations against the businessman and his allies would be stopped.

There are also eight attorneys and two law firms, none listed by name, who prosecutors say were part of the purported criminal enterprise.

Most of the purported criminal activity in Wednesday’s indictment occurred between January 2005 and July 2009, though it stretches to Jan. 31 of this year, primarily because of what prosecutors said was false campaign finance reports.

There were a number of federal officials, including U.S. marshals and at least one FBI agent, at Wednesday’s press conference in the Cuyahoga County justice center. While federal authorities conducted an investigation into Oakhill, the charges filed Wednesday were by the state.

DeWine declined to discuss if there was any federal involvement in this investigation.

After the announcement, DeWine told The Vindicator that there are some similarities between this investigation and the one from four years ago.

But “we took a fresh look at it; an independent look at it,” he said.

A Cuyahoga County judge will be selected shortly to oversee this case.

The indictment said the purported criminal activities occurred in Mahoning, Cuyahoga, Trumbull, Geauga and Franklin counties.

Most of it appears to have happened in Mahoning, but without giving an explanation, DeWine and McGinty said the prosecution would be in Cuyahoga County.

McGinty appointed De-Wine and three of his assistants as special prosecutors for this case. Daniel Kasaris, a senior assistant attorney general who successfully prosecuted former Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky’s case that ended last week with a guilty pleas to tampering with records, will be the lead prosecutor on this new case.

Lewis R. Katz, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said having the case in Cuyahoga County is likely a strategy to help get convictions.

Prosecutors “might be concerned [the defendants] are too popular in Mahoning County while they are unknown quantities in Cleveland without any preconceived opinions by jurors,” he said.

“When will the voters of the Valley wake up, and when will our best and brightest step forward and offer to run for office?” said county Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe. “I realize an indictment is just a charge, and we are all innocent until proven guilty, but the growing list of indicted Democrats is a poison that is eating away at the Valley.”


1Roger_Thornhill(1063 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm all against corruption, but seems like many of these charges relate to things from 2005. That is an awfully long time to pass to bring charges.

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2handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Saw Sciortino's rant on television against Dewine. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens.

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3Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Based on information in the first Oakhill indictment, other criminal documents, and descriptions in Wednesday’s indictment, “Businessman 1” likely is Anthony M. Cafaro Sr. and “Businesswoman 1” likely is Flora Cafaro.
That is like saying based on that strange glowing light to the east every morning the sun likely rises in the east.But I am impressed that the vindy was willing to go so far. When this issue first presented itself years ago, it took months for the Vindy to get up enough courage to use their name.

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4msweetwood(179 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago


Just to refresh your memory, we broke the story and led all coverage in the 2010 indictments naming all of the participants:


In fact, when visiting Judge Wolff improperly sealed the bills of particular, The Vindicator and its news partner WFMJ-TV stood alone among media entities to fight for the public's right to access. That battle was rewarded two years later when the Supreme Court sided with us and against the judge:


You might be recalling earlier cases involving Cronin and Tsgaris in which "Businessman 1" was more shaded. In each case, we eventually used public records to decode the mystery.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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5kensgirl(1056 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

YSUGRAD99- the elite? These people aren't elite. They grew up on the same streets you and I did. They just chose different paths. People around here are so used to corruption it's just another day to them. The problem is that no one worthwhile runs for office around here. We have to chose the best of several evils. I wish I could have given my children a better place to grow up in but it seems corruption will always be be with us. The city of Youngstown will never be what it once was. That's the hard truth. Period. We had hope for the county but I guess that's a proven wrong. Sad day around here.

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6DwightK(1535 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Looks like the dominoes are starting to fall. I wonder if they'll stretch all the way to Belmont Ave?

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7topper11(702 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The way I see it these guys have just been indicted and so far not proven guilty yet . Looks bad but we all get our day in court .

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82muchtax(895 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Betrays is a D Bag we need to vote for whomever he does not endorse and hopefully that is a independent! The democrats have screwed this area up for way to long!

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9WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

This indictment will cause far more economic damage than the big 4.0 earthquake. It may take far longer for the dust to settle.

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10Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Brothers and Sisters, good news, Betras is going to appointment our sister and leader Jaladah Aslam to be our next County Auditor.

We congratulate Betras for finally seeing the light and appointing our qualified sister to this office.

God bless and the fight continues!

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11Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Mr Sweetwood you might be right and my recollection of the past wrong, in either case I am glad to see the leader of the " enterprise" identified by name. What worries me most is the leader of the "enterprise" was not charged. I hope and pray that your staff hounds Dewine into the ground for an answer to that mystery.

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12billdog1(5771 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on.

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13Millerh113(216 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Bertram de Souza is the most prescient man in Youngstown; he told us this was coming and that it was risky to vote for McNally for mayor when he would likely be indicted for criminal activities. If he is forced to resign, who will be the mayor? Why does anyone want to be mayor of Youngstown anyway? It's like wanting to be the captain of the Lusitania after the torpedo struck.

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14Buckeye1969(4 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

I certainly hope that the Cafaros are next and that they can't buy their way out as they usually do.

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15DwightK(1535 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

McNally was elected because he was the best of the worst. The electorate in Youngstown deserves better candidates.

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16nojimbo(286 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

HonestAbe, Sciortino was grasping for straws and trying out Traficant's style but he just doesn't have Jimbo's flair or cunning to pull it off.

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17Seriouslee(148 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Sciortino looked like an idiot and his strategy is so lame it will probably work--say it's all a political ploy timed for his re-election bid by the Republican AG--So what if it is? If you did it, you did it, and I don't care about the timing. Then he falls into how much of a debacle Oak Hill is and he was right to oppose it--maybe so, but did you have to take bribes and commit perjury, or was this a self-sacrifice for the good of the tax payers? The man is an embarrassment and I also agree with the other posters--Betras has to go.

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18mrblue(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Corruption in Youngstown would make a great reality TV program for the WB. I don't believe that corruption in the valley will ever end..

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19JJPirko(13 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

To quote Ray Charles: http://youtu.be/WluSeo0BoPY

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20Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

I racked my brain trying to figure out what guy was John Doe 4, then it dawned on me he is a she. I have in the past made joking comments that she was really a guy in drag and now it seems that Dewine is in on the cruel joke.

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21Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Incident number 97 infers that Carol broke the law while working at the Board of Elections. Mark Sweetwood I hope your reporters are not going to ignore this, after all the person that divulged that tid bit has plead guilty and MUST tell the Court every thing she know or she will be in violation of the Court order that she agreed to. I wonder if it is to late to charge her. Seeing as she is a present office holder for the county maybe you might make a point to ask her about this and let the public know what kind of bs answer she gives.

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22Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Incident number 98 infers that Carol got an envelope from Belmont ave. and she failed to disclose it in her campaign finance report as required by law. So we have a sitting Commissioner that is/was on the payroll ( if that is what the envelopes represent) of the local Don Corleone,and to boot she is destroying official records. This info comes by way of Antonini who pled guilty and is fully cooperating with the investigators.
For the life of me I can't see how this can be ignored. Which leads to the question as to why the selective prosecution. Why is Dewine overlooking crimes by some people and charging others.

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23Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

Please don't ignore incident numbers 97 and 98.

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24Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Article 110 infers that Antonini and dear Carol took part in a bribery scheme.
On and on it goes, when will we see an article by the Vindy about Carol' alleged misdeed's and quotes from her explaining her part in this sordid mess.
This story is like an iceberg, all we are seeing is the part above the water line. The three players charged are not the only ones that are being reported to have committed crimes. There are other office holders that need to be questioned if for no other reason then to watch them squirm and say " no comment"

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