It could be more than a year before the state’s highest court rules on the Youngstown mayor’s law-license sanctions
Published: Fri, October 6, 2017 @ 12:05 a.m.
By David Skolnick
It could be more than a year before the Ohio Supreme Court rules on law-license sanctions against Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally.
But McNally could seek to have his license placed back on active status at any time, and that request would be granted, said David Comstock, counsel for the Mahoning County Bar Association grievance committee. McNally’s license has been inactive since March 23, 2016.
Comstock argued Thursday in Columbus in front of a three-member panel of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct that the mayor receive a 12-month license suspension with all 12 months stayed.
Lynn Maro, McNally’s attorney, sought a public reprimand for her client’s punishment.
The panel will make a recommendation to the full 28-member Board of Professional Conduct.
The full board’s recommendation – which Comstock expects will be in December – then goes to the Ohio Supreme Court for a final decision. It usually takes six to 12 months after the court receives the recommendation before it makes a decision, Comstock said.
McNally, a Democrat, pleaded guilty Feb. 26, 2016, to four misdemeanors – two counts of falsification and one count each of attempted unlawful use of a telecommunications device and attempted disclosure of confidential information – in connection with the Oakhill Renaissance Place corruption investigation.
McNally’s convictions are related to his improperly faxing Mahoning County’s confidential offer – when he was a county commissioner – to buy Oakhill Renaissance Place, a former hospital on the city’s South Side, on July 26, 2006, to attorneys at Ulmer & Berne, a Cleveland law firm that represented the Cafaro Co.
Judge Janet R. Burnside of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, who accepted the guilty pleas, placed McNally on probation for one year and put his law license on inactive status for one year, which the mayor did March 23, 2016.
But Comstock said Judge Burnside isn’t permitted to require McNally have his license be inactive.
Comstock recommended to the state panel that McNally get credit for the time his license was inactive.
McNally can practice law when he chooses to go to active status, Comstock said.