Judge rejects Yavorcik’s request to postpone his Friday sentencing on eight felonies
By David Skolnick
A judge rejected Martin Yavorcik’s request to postpone his Friday sentencing on eight felonies so he could obtain an alcohol-abuse assessment.
Yavorcik, convicted March 25 in the Oakhill Renaissance Place corruption scandal, filed a motion Monday seeking a delay.
On Wednesday, a brief email from the bailiff for Judge Janet R. Burnside of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, who oversaw Yavorcik’s case, stated the “sentencing remains as scheduled” for Friday.
Yavorcik, a failed 2008 independent candidate for Mahoning County prosecutor, wrote Monday in his motion that prosecutors’ concerns about his “alcohol problems” was “rightly raised” with the court.
During the trial, however, Yavorcik asked that prosecutors not be permitted to bring up his supposed drug and alcohol use with prosecutors saying they had no plans to discuss that at his trial.
Yavorcik wrote in Monday’s filing: “An alcohol assessment is important in this case for the court to consider when imposing judgment and sentence.”
Yavorcik couldn’t be reached Wednesday by The Vindicator to comment.
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said prosecutors have been planning for a Friday sentencing.
The AG’s office prosecuted Yavorcik with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
Yavorcik also wanted his sentencing delayed in order to give him time to raise money to retain an attorney for his appeal, noting the cost of obtaining the transcript of the two-week trial alone would cost about $10,000. An attorney, Yavorcik defended himself during his two-week trial.
Yavorcik faces up to 29 years in prison, and prosecutors are recommending he serve a sentence. The judge is not expected to sentence Yavorcik, a first-time offender, to an amount even close to the maximum.
He was offered at least three plea bargains that significantly reduced the number of criminal counts against him – and could have kept him out of prison – but Yavorcik rejected them.
He originally was indicted May 14, 2014, on 27 felonies.
That was reduced to 11 felonies at the request of Judge Burnside to lower the number of criminal counts facing Yavorcik and two co-defendants – Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally and ex-Mahoning County Auditor Michael V. Sciortino.
One count of money laundering against Yavorcik for $2,500 given to his campaign from McNally was dismissed after the trial but before the jury started deliberating.
Yavorcik was found guilty March 25 of eight of the remaining 10 felonies: one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy and tampering with records, two counts of money laundering and three counts of bribery.
The jury convicted Yavorcik for illegally taking about $140,000 in bribes to kill the Oakhill investigation if he was elected prosecutor. He lost that election by 38 percentage points.
Prosecutors in the Oakhill case alleged a conspiracy started in 2006 to impede the move of Mahoning County’s Department of Job and Family Services from a Cafaro Co.-owned property on Youngstown’s East Side to the county-owned Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.
The county bought Oakhill in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2006 and moved JFS there the following year.
McNally, in his previous capacity as a Mahoning County commissioner, and Sciortino, both Democrats, took plea deals in the Oakhill case and were each sentenced to a year’s probation.
Yavorcik joined the conspiracy in 2008 when he ran for prosecutor.