Y'town lawmakers disappointed, surprised by Sammarone allegations


YOUNGSTOWN

City council members expressed disappointment and surprise at the indictment of former Mayor Charles Sammarone on 14 felonies.

“I was totally shocked,” said Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd. “He’s got a long career of public service to this community, and for him to be involved in this is totally shocking. I find it hard to believe.”

Pinkard said he’s known Sammarone for decades.

“I’ve had great respect for him,” Pinkard said. “He’s always given me great advice. I’ve always looked up to him.”

A Thursday indictment accuses Sammarone, mayor from August 2011 to December 2013, of soliciting and receiving recurring cash payments from an unnamed vendor in return for steering projects to the company.

The payments listed in the indictment extend from October 2012 to July 2013 and totaled $10,000.

Sammarone, a Democrat, also is accused of failing to disclose the payments along with rental income derived from owning a condo in Florida and is accused of making false statements about the money to state investigative officials.

He’s charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, nine counts of bribery, three counts of tampering with records and one count of falsification.

On Thursday, Sammarone told The Vindicator: “As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The indictment also alleges former longtime Finance Director David Bozanich, who left that job in December 2017, illegally received cash, golf fees, trips and other benefits exceeding $125,000 over a 10-year period in his official city job capacity to do favors for various companies, including those owned by downtown developer Dominic Marchionda.

The indictment supersedes one from Oct. 2, 2017, against Marchionda and a dozen of his affiliated companies.

On Friday, John F. McCaffrey, Marchionda’s attorney, issued a written statement calling the superseding indictment “a rehashing of many of the same allegations contained in the indictment returned 11 months” earlier.

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