Friday, December 14, 2018
By David Skolnick
The Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended the law license of former Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino for his convictions in the Oak-hill Renaissance Place corruption scandal.
All seven justices agreed in a Thursday decision to the indefinite suspension.
But two of them – Justices Sharon L. Kennedy and Judith L. French – disagreed with the majority that Sciortino not be given credit for time served under his interim suspension that began April 11, 2016.
The court’s Board of Professional Conduct in February recommended an indefinite suspension with credit for the time his law license has been suspended.
Also, Sciortino, who’s had issues with alcohol abuse, objected to having his sobriety monitored by an official with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program. He wanted a local lawyer to handle that.
The Supreme Court rejected Sciortino’s request, though Justices Kennedy and French didn’t have an issue with it.
John B. Juhasz, Sciortino’s attorney, couldn’t be reached Thursday by The Vindicator to comment.
Sciortino, a Democrat, was convicted Feb. 26, 2016, in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court of a felony count of having an unlawful interest in a public contract and misdemeanor counts of falsification and receiving or soliciting improper compensation related to the Oakhill Renaissance Place scandal.
He was also convicted May 19, 2016, in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court of two counts of unauthorized use of computer or telecommunications property – one is a felony and the other is a misdemeanor – for his repeated illegal use of Mahoning County computers while an elected officeholder.
He served about four months in a halfway house for the Mahoning County convictions.
Sciortino served as auditor from September 2005 until February 2015.
A May 14, 2014, indictment in Cuyahoga County and court records accused Sciortino and others – including then-Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, a Democrat, in his previous capacity as a Mahoning County commissioner – of being a part of a criminal enterprise that conspired to illegally stop the county’s purchase of Oakhill, the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.
They also were accused of trying to stop the county’s Department of Job and Family Services from relocating there from Garland Plaza, a building owned by a Cafaro Co. subsidiary on the city’s East Side.
The Supreme Court on Sept. 18 suspended the law license of McNally, convicted of four misdemeanors in the Oakhill case, for a year with six months of it stayed if he engages in no further misconduct.
Martin Yavorcik, an unsuccessful 2008 independent candidate for county prosecutor, had his law license indefinitely suspended May 2, 2016, based on eight felony convictions related to his involvement in Oakhill.
But his convictions were overturned May 10 by the 8th District Court of Appeals, and the state Supreme Court decided Aug. 29 to not hear an appeal from prosecutors.
Yavorcik is seeking reinstatement of his law license.