Ex-Niles auditor pleads not guilty to 9 charges

By Ed Runyan



Charles Nader, former longtime auditor for the city of Niles, was arraigned Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on nine charges related to the public-corruption case against former Niles Mayor Ralph Infante and his wife, Judy.

Nader, 64, of Washington Street in Niles, stood before visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove for a brief hearing, pleading not guilty. The $25,000 personal-recognizance bond set for him earlier was continued. Nader was led from the courtroom after the hearing to be booked and fingerprinted at the county jail.

He was released from the jail about 20 minutes later. A personal-recognizance bond does not require the person to pay anything.

Nader faces four felony charges: theft, two counts of tampering with records and unlawful interest in a public contract.

The indictments allege Nader used a city computer for his private tax-preparation business and failed to list income from a tax client who also was doing business with the city.

Misdemeanor charges include making false statements to two state auditors and accepting compensation from a company that was “seeking to do business” with the city.

The rest of the hearing involved pushing back the dates for defense attorneys to file motions in the case 10 days and for special prosecutors with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to reply to them.

Those deadlines are now Sept. 22 and Oct. 13, respectively. All three defendants are scheduled to go on trial Dec. 11.

Nader’s attorney, Dan Keating, filed a motion requesting more time to file motions because Nader was only indicted Aug. 1, and Keating still has not received standard pretrial evidence and copies of statements prosecutors say Nader made to investigators.

All three defendants and their attorneys were in court for the hearing because Nader’s arraignment was combined with a pretrial hearing for Ralph and Judy Infante.

Nader was auditor from 2006 to 2015. He’s indicted along with Infante, 61, who is facing 41 criminal counts, and his wife, Judy, 68, who is facing seven counts of tampering with records. She’s accused of failing to report and trying to conceal “income from gambling and other sources.”

Nader resigned as auditor in September 2015, a few months before his term was to have expired and nearly a year after the city was declared in fiscal emergency by the state auditor.

Infante and his wife entered not-guilty pleas at an earlier hearing, and both are free on bond.

The indictments allege Ralph Infante illegally received nearly $200,000 in unreported cash, income and gifts, some of it to provide people with jobs with the city. The allegations date back to the beginning of his term as mayor in 1992.

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