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Youngstown mayor, Mahoning County auditor and an attorney will be arraigned Thursday



Published: Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

Trio to enter pleas Thursday in corruption case

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McNally

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Sciortino

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Yavorcik

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

CLEVELAND

Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and attorney Martin Yavorcik will stand Thursday in front of a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge to enter “not guilty” pleas to 83 political corruption charges.

It will be the first court appearances for the three on the charges — including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, perjury and tampering with records — from a Cuyahoga County grand jury that indicted them May 14. The indictment details accusations of widespread political corruption in Mahoning County that accuses McNally, during his time as county commissioner, Sciortino, Yavorcik and 20 others — some named and others not, although a number of them reasonably can be identified based on information in the indictment and other documents — of being part of a criminal enterprise.

The indictment accuses those in the alleged enterprise of trading money and other financial benefits for political favors, lying under oath to protect business interests, and an agreement to fix legal cases.

That went on from January 2005 to January 2014, though most of it stopped in July 2009, according to the indictment.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is the case’s lead prosecutor with assistance from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Pamela A. Barker is the arraignment judge Thursday, although that is subject to change.

The judge will set bond for the three, a pretrial hearing will be scheduled, and a judge who will oversee their cases will be selected through an electronic court system, said Joseph F. Frolik, spokesman for the Cuyahoga prosecutor’s office.

After that, the sheriff’s office will process the three.

That includes taking mug shots, fingerprints, checking their identification and checking to see if any have outstanding warrants, according to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.

“I imagine after the arraignment, they’ll fingerprint us and take our photos,” McNally said.

He declined to comment further Tuesday except to say he is “still maintaining my innocence.”

Sciortino and his attorney, John Juhasz, couldn’t be reached Tuesday by The Vindicator to comment.

But when told by a reporter that he was going to be indicted before the information was revealed, Sciortino said, “From the bottom of my heart, I really believe I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jennifer Scott, Yavorcik’s attorney, said her client is innocent.

“Businessman 1” — who, based on information in this indictment, a previous indictment and campaign finance reports, is likely Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., the former head of the Cafaro Co. retail development business — is at the center of the alleged criminal enterprise, accused of using several public officials to protect his business interests. He is not charged in the indictment.

The indictment specifically mentions the businessman’s efforts to keep the county’s Job and Family Services agency at a property. That property is owned by the Cafaro Co.

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, both Democrats, conspired and received benefits for opposing the relocation. Yavorcik, a failed independent 2008 candidate for county prosecutor, 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, the indictment claims.

“They’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,” said Scott, Yavorcik’s attorney. “It didn’t work in Youngstown, so they’re trying another jurisdiction. The facts don’t line up with the charges.”

Cafaro, McNally, Sciortino, former county Treasurer John Reardon, former JFS Director John Zachariah, the Cafaro Co. and two of its subsidiaries were indicted in July 2010 on conspiring to unsuccessfully stop the move.

Yavorcik and Flora Cafaro, Anthony’s sister and a Cafaro Co. official, also were indicted, but that was for money laundering related to a purportedly concealed $15,000 payment she made to Yavorcik’s 2008 campaign for county prosecutor.

Their indictments were dismissed a year later shortly after it was learned the FBI had about 2,000 hours of surveillance tapes of at least one of the defendants in the state case and wouldn’t turn them over.

As that wouldn’t allow the defense to fully represent its clients, the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning charges could be refiled later.


Comments

1handymandave(523 comments)posted 5 months ago

Does that mean my 5 minutes with the Mayor will be cancelled on Thursday?

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2pgurney(281 comments)posted 5 months ago

handymandave, you must have missed the memo. 5 minutes with the Mayor has been moved up to Tuesday.

Innocent until proven guilty.

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3kensgirl(627 comments)posted 5 months ago

It's also true that if you want to know a person's future look at their past. I thought that after the last generation passed away that my generation would end all of this crap. Looks like they're trying to be even worse. You can have your five minutes with McNally. I'd rather sit in front of the devil. Same difference.

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4CongressWatcher(167 comments)posted 5 months ago

I haven't heard how Sciortino's campaign against Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, is going. Does anyone have any updates, since he declared war on DeWine on WKBN? I hope he announces again in court today. I'll bet the judge will be impressed.

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5Forejjg(21 comments)posted 5 months ago

Some things never change. How sad is this place.

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6mrblue(1003 comments)posted 5 months ago

I think that these three are small potatoes. The Attorney General is really after businessman number one. Anyone care to guess who that is?

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7Michael0107(7 comments)posted 5 months ago

I really believe I didn't do anything wrong...But,ya did do something? Your not sure what it is you did,but hell,whatever it was,& I'll grant,you've done a lot,but none "YOU",believe is wrong?.OK,Thats GudEnough For Me...Lets get outta here.

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8redvert(2075 comments)posted 5 months ago

How all this goes will depend on where the money flows.

Not trying to be a poet but my feet show it, they are long fellows!!!

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9jen99(8 comments)posted 5 months ago

Why is everyone on this site so willing to believe that simply because a person has been indicted he is guilty? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? It seems like people would like our system to be guilty until proven innocent. There are a lot of countries with that type of system, maybe you should move there and try it out.
Try to remember that it's extremely easy for prosecutors to obtain indictments since only one side is presented to a grand jury, and that's the prosecutor's take on events, no exculpatory evidence is presented. Wait until you hear all the evidence in court before you decide these individuals are guilty or not guilty. Don't give the State anymore power than it has or this could easily happen to you too.

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10valleypoboy(119 comments)posted 5 months ago

You can have your 5 min. Just remember to leave the envelope on the nightstand

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11eagleye(59 comments)posted 5 months ago

Bring the guilt SOB's in. Just more of the same old stuff in Mahoning County. I don't think that I have to list the dozens of "Public Servant" maggots that infest all levels of the local government who have been convicted. I'm anxiously waiting for the Atty. General and the State BCI to move into Trumbull County. They could stay fully employed here for years.

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12kleener(49 comments)posted 5 months ago

@eagleye, Don't worry, they're already there. Niles and Trumbull Engineer's to start. Should be interesting...

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13jojuggie(1311 comments)posted 5 months ago

ALL ARE DEMOCRATS. WOW! WHODDAA THUNK IT?

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14DwightK(1269 comments)posted 5 months ago

I wonder if Business Man #1 will be compelled to testify.

I really hope so.

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15Roger_Thornhill(583 comments)posted 5 months ago

They are innocent until proven guilty, but the reality is they sure do have a tough road ahead of them.

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16TERRAPINST(307 comments)posted 5 months ago

While I do not know if any of these are individuals are guilty in that these issues are yet to be proven-one thing is a fact. Oakhill is an absolute mistake as they said it would be now having cost 17 million dollars with another 500,000 about to be announced for the coroners facility. The end of every article should include the line "Guilty or not they were right about the horrible mistake Oakhill was to become". Why is that so blatantly overlooked by everyone including this rag---the f*#@king guys were right. I do not know if there actions were right or wrong YET as no one else posting here does, but all you who feel you are "in the know" even if they are proven guilty does that make Oakhill a good idea? Its a joke.

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17bmanresident(597 comments)posted 5 months ago

Terrapinst forgot his meds again.

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18walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 5 months ago

terrapinst
Oakhill Renaissance is not on trial. It is three individuals that conspired to prevent the Mahoning County commissioners from purchasing the former Southside Hospital so that the Cafaro's could keep screwing the taxpayer for the rat's nest on the east side. While Mr. McNally may not have voted for it, the vote was 2-1 in favor of the purchase. You see, a government official accepting money in exchange for performing a specific task for the contributor is called bribery. When many different characters get together to do similar bidding for this contributor, it can be considered a pattern of corrupt activity, especially when using telephones, with all the makings of a criminal enterprise and possible racketeering. But, they are certainly innocent until proven guilty as were other elected Democratic officeholders in the county. I'm sure much of the testimony will come from Lisa Antonini, a convicted felon, and the defense will try to discredit her. I'm just hoping Sciortino will testify and bring his "A" game attitude to the court. I'm sure Mr. DeWine and his associates would love to crack him open. My biggest question is will the Cafaro's get to skate away free once again?

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19Roger_Thornhill(583 comments)posted 5 months ago

I originally thought Oak Hill was a good idea, but I don't now.

However, whether it was a good deal or not (and I think it was not) really has nothing to do with what they are charged with.

Perjury is about lying under oath; it doesn't matter what the subject.

And Yavorcik wasn't involved because he thought Oak Hill was a bad deal, was he?

And Sciortino was specifically told by a judge that he was overstepping his bounds, was he not?

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20jojuggie(1311 comments)posted 5 months ago

From all appearances, Ytown is all screwed up - Wash. D.C. is all screwed up - the nation is all screwed up. Guess who is in office?

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21jojuggie(1311 comments)posted 5 months ago

I can just feel Obama's thinking................I'll just wait until after the November elections.............then I'll fix the VA.
Then nothing happens.

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22TERRAPINST(307 comments)posted 5 months ago

HEY WALT IM NOT DONNIE AND IM NOT SHUTTING THE F**K UP. I truly understand the concepts and issues of law here thanks. I was unaware that message board rules, as if there are any, prevent ancillary matters from being discussed. I was simply making the point that I do not care about the future results of the trial because they are in a future we do not know. I am just baffled as to whether or not any of the people PRAYING for these guys to be convicted without knowing ANYTHING about the real evidence- ever objectively sit back and say they might be accused but they are inarguably correct in the predictions they made about Oakhill. Again in one breath you say the three individuals who conspired and then you say they are innocent until proven guilty. Which is it? Can't have it both ways-right now they are completely and utterly innocent until proven otherwise BUT Oakhill is a joke, money hole, burden on the county these are the facts and they are undeniable. Oakhill has screwed us waaaay more financially than McGuffey EVER did and will continue to. Looks like the Evil genius Tablack might have screwed us to get back at Cafaro?!?!?!! Ever think that. SEVENTEEN MILLION. wHY DOES THAT NOT MATTER?

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23walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 5 months ago

I think a lot of things especially two wrongs not making a right. Whether Oakhill was a good deal or not does not give an elected official the right to go around the board of county commissioners to circumvent the deal. If the defendants go to court and try to use that as a defense, they will most certainly be found guilty. But, something must have happened that was illegal as Lisa Antonini has already done time for it! These are just the next Democrat characters in line that will most likely get sucked down the tube by the Cafaro's money. Tablack may have been an evil genius but, if whatever he did followed Ohio Revised Code, he will serve no time as he is not guilty of a crime.

Donnie was a good man and a good bowler. And you can keep talking all you want but ask yourself: How stupid are these Democratic officeholders that they keep taking money from the Cafaro's yet, time and time again, elected officials keep getting convicted of crimes that have them doing serious jail time?

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24southsidedave(4786 comments)posted 5 months ago

I am sure that in the interest of all concerned, the State will make an "offer" that cannot be refused (without admitting wrongdoing of course) and after some fines are paid, life will continue as usual.

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25jojuggie(1311 comments)posted 5 months ago

Terrapin states" people praying for these guys to be convicted without knowing anything about the real evidence."
Evidently he is not a longtime Ytowner, & he certainly doesn't realize that in the last 2 decades 60 people, all Democat leaders in the Mahoning Valley, have been indicted over on a wide variety of charges.In most cases, these people have been convicted and/or thrown out of office.

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26TERRAPINST(307 comments)posted 5 months ago

Walter you keep mixing logic. I am not saying what they did was right or wrong I don't know- you don't know simple and end of discussion. What I am saying is that when people discuss this issue the undeniable facts are the Oakhill opposition stance that these guys engaged in was that it was a horrible boondoggle that would be financially devastating. I stated that when the issue arises you can think these guys are as guilty as sin in the way they handled themselves BUT what they said is true, the place is a joke-expensive-harmful and a horrible decision by those that supported it. Maybe they did what people are praying for BUT WHAT I AM SAYING IS THEY WERE RIGHT. Walter when you debate me you're out of your element. You think Oakhill has been the utopian public facility its proponents espoused or a money pit nightmare? I say the latter and you CANNOT find evidence to refute it. Please quit mixing arguments. Guilty or not it was a bad idea and all the predictions of the accused have come to fruition. I am not talking about guilt or innocence guilty or not they were right in their opposition its proven. If they strategized illegally that is yet to be known, but its been proven that what they said is what it is. Tablack said "Oh it will only cost 75,000.00". SEVENTEEN MILLION! He was either stupid or.......You think he in his heart believed 75,000 or hated Cafaro (who is a pig ) and didn't care that he ransomed the county for his own agenda.

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27walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 5 months ago

terrapinst,
I believe, on the surface, it was wise to get out of the east side hell hole owned by the Cafaro's. Have they since leased the property? Obviously, someone did not do their homework on the former hospital property as it has turned into one big money hole. Eliminating the east side location, finally abandoning the former Sears building annex and centralizing the services makes sense logistically but the price tag has been woefully too high. However, while all this is true, does that give these pols the right to take bribes, launder money and cater to one family? Does the end justify the means? I am not mixing the arguments and the fact that this is a bad business decision does not give anyone the right to act illegally! There are rules Smokey! Doesn't anybody give a sh!t about the rules?

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28TERRAPINST(307 comments)posted 5 months ago

PLEASE WALT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AGAIN I CONTINUALLY STATE THAT THESE GUYS ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY, AS YOU HAVE. I AM NOT CONDNING ILLEGAL OR CORRUPT ACTS AND IF CONVICTED THEY NEED PUNISHED! MAYBE WE CAN EXECUTE THEM. ENOUGH WE AGREE ON THAT. However the premise that they were at least publicly stating was that the Oakhill facility was a bad move and they were right. Further, they did not ever state that Garland should be maintained, they actually supported the building of a new facility or alternative facility that was not devastating to the budget. Oakhill has been that and they were correct. The issue I raise is again, you are one of the more reasonable people on this lunatic chat line- you agree that it is woefully too expensive to paraphrase. If these individuals are found to be innocent, will you and other then attack the bad decision for what it has proven to be? Are you that objective? I appreciate the debate, but now find myself actually putting effort into what is an outlet for anonymous, cowardly insane folk who really know nothing of the facts so forgive a non -response. I am going to try to put my energies into things that actually matter.

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29besthopes4ytown(21 comments)posted 5 months ago

This is NOT a sad thing, and not step back for the city in regards to its progress. This IS progress. You have to clean your house thoroughly before it is ready for renovation. Youngstown needs this cleaning, otherwise, all of the progress made will be in vain. I think this shows that the State of Ohio is no longer looking the other way, that they are taking Youngstown more seriously as a legitimate center of commerce. If Cafaro remains in power he will diminish this movement. The city's revitalization is NOT in his or his company's/family's best interest.Think about it: how does a local retail development corporation become the WEALTHIEST in the NATION in one of its POOREST cities?
By bribing the public servants, building a deceitful web of corruption, keeping the public ignorant and dispossessed, and most of all putting their own interests (read:$ greed $) above those of the population.

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30Robert_Neville(123 comments)posted 5 months ago

I am not sure this will fix the problem in Youngstown. I am going to go with Innocent until proven guilty. I am not sure the charges fit the crime on this one. The fact is anyone could give to a campaign but that amount that they are talking about is really small. There is someone else that is not mentioned involved in this I just do not know who?

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