Prison time unlikely after Oakhill case
By David Skolnick
Ex-Mahoning County Auditor Michael V. Sciortino could face up to 18 months behind bars after pleading guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor for illegally using county computers to organize two golf fundraisers for his re-election.
However, it’s highly unlikely that Sciortino, an Austintown Democrat, will serve any time when Visiting Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove sentences him May 19.
That’s because Sciortino’s plea Monday was part of a deal he made Feb. 26 to resolve this case and another one in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Janet R. Burnside of Cuyahoga County sentenced Sciortino on March 28 to one year’s probation after he pleaded guilty to one felony and two misdemeanors related to his involvement in the Oakhill Renaissance Place scandal.
Sciortino pleaded guilty Monday to one felony and one misdemeanor of unauthorized use of property (computer or telecommunication property).
Sciortino was indicted June 4, 2015, in Mahoning County on 25 felonies: 21 counts of unauthorized use of property (computer or telecommunication property) and four counts of theft in office.
Court documents state Sciortino illegally used county-owned computers and other equipment more than 300 times for political purposes and his personal DJ/band business and law practice, and had three employees help him.
The fifth-degree felony was for using a county computer June 9, 2010, to open an email for a golf scramble flier and an invitation for his re-election campaign scheduled for July 23, 2010.
The first-degree misdemeanor, reduced from a fifth-degree felony, was connected to a campaign golf outing – specifically for a prize list – emailed Feb. 16, 2012.
After his plea, Sciortino declined to comment. Also, officials with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted Sciortino here and in Cuyahoga County, declined to comment Monday.
In Cuyahoga County, Sciortino faced 11 felonies and six misdemeanors including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, bribery, tampering with records and money laundering.
His deal had him plead guilty to a felony count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract – reduced from a higher felony of tampering with records – and misdemeanors of falsification – reduced from perjury – and receiving or soliciting improper compensation.
He was accused of being part of a criminal enterprise to illegally stop or impede Mahoning County’s purchase of Oakhill, the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.
Earlier Monday, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended Sciortino’s law license “for an interim period.” That was triggered by his guilty plea in Cuyahoga County. As part of his sentencing, Sciortino’s law license was to be suspended for the year he’s on probation.
The Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts on Monday ordered Sciortino to pay $2,672.70 in court fees.
The court also ordered Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, an Oakhill co-defendant who pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to four misdemeanors to avoid a trial, to pay $6,598.58 in court fees.
That amount includes a $3,500 fine.
Lynn Maro, McNally’s attorney, said she was planning to contact the court about the $3,098.58 in other court fees as it is more than the expected amount of about $2,700.
Meanwhile, Martin Yavorcik, the other Oakhill co-defendant, filed a motion to have his March 25 conviction on eight felonies dismissed.
Yavorcik, an attorney, defended himself during a two-week trial rather than take a plea deal.
Yavorcik, a failed 2008 Mahoning County prosecutor candidate, wrote in his court filing that prosecutors failed to establish proof of venue in Cuyahoga County and to have him convicted of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and conspiracy.
He wrote that means his other six felony convictions also should be dismissed.
Dan Tierney, an attorney general spokesman, said Yavorcik’s filing is “a very routine motion that happens in a fair number of our cases. We’ll respond in court.”
Yavorcik is to be sentenced April 22 by Judge Burnside on the eight felonies. He could face up to 29 years in prison, though there is no mandatory prison time.