McNally’s law license suspended by Ohio Supreme Court
Former Youngstown mayor ‘disappointed with the decision’
By David Skolnick
The Ohio Supreme Court suspended the law license of John A. McNally, former Youngstown mayor and ex-Mahoning County commissioner, for a year with six months of it stayed on the condition that he engage in no further misconduct.
The Tuesday suspension was related to the Oakhill corruption case.
“I’m disappointed with the decision,” McNally said. “I’m trying to get my law practice up and running. I’ve been practicing since the beginning of the year. It’s effective immediately so I have to notify clients.”
In a 5-0 decision, with Justices Mary DeGenaro and Patrick F. Fischer not participating in the vote, the court disregarded the Board of Professional Conduct’s recommendation that McNally receive a public reprimand.
On Oct. 5, 2017, David Comstock, counsel for the Mahoning County Bar Association grievance committee, had recommended a 12-month suspension of McNally’s law license with all 12 months stayed while Lynn Maro, McNally’s attorney, sought a public reprimand.
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 has stipulated that his conduct was dishonest, illegal and adversely reflected on his trustworthiness,” the court decision reads. “Given the seriousness of McNally’s misconduct, the applicable aggravating and mitigating factors, and our precedent, we believe that a one-year suspension from the practice of law with six months stayed on one condition is the appropriate sanction in this case.”
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 he did March 23, 2016.
McNally said he returned to active status in January, shortly after he concluded a four-year term as mayor. He lost re-election in the Democratic primary to Jamael Tito Brown.