Judge to Bozanich: Stay in Ohio prison
David Bozanich, the ex-Youngstown finance director serving a year in prison in a corruption probe, was set to move to a halfway house around March 8 — until the judge who sentenced him objected.
Bozanich has been serving his sentence at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut since Sept. 14, 2020, after 11 days in the Mahoning County jail while waiting to be processed by the state system.
He was approved for transitional control release — meaning he’d be placed in a halfway house — to start on or after March 8 by the Ohio Department of Rehabilita-tion and Correction, according to JoEllen Smith, its spokeswoman.
But Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney, who sentenced Bozanich, denied the move.
“The denial was placed on the public docket; however DRC has no record of directly receiving the denial, which is normally how such responses are received,” Smith said. “Now that we are aware of this information, the transitional control release is denied per the judicial reply. DRC contacted the court and notified them of this change.”
In the judgment entry, Sweeney didn’t explain why she disapproved of the request.
Bozanich will serve the remainder of his sentence until Sept. 2 in prison — as originally ordered by Sweeney.
Bozanich was sentenced Sept. 3, 2020, by Sweeney to a year in prison, three years of probation and a $10,000 fine. At the time, the judge said: “Mr. Bozanich, you should be ashamed of yourself. As as public official, you abused the trust of the people of Youngstown.”
Bozanich was convicted of one felony count each of bribery and tampering with records and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful compensation of a public official.
He took a plea deal Aug. 7. He was initially charged with 18 felonies in an Aug. 30, 2018, public corruption indictment.
The bribery conviction was for accepting free golf from Raymond Briya, a former MS Consultants Inc. chief financial officer, so his company “could secure work for or within the city of Youngstown, then devised a scheme to hide the benefits,” according to the indictment.
The tampering conviction was for Bozanich giving $1.2 million from the city’s water fund to downtown property developer Dominic Marchionda if he gave $1 million back to the city’s general fund in December 2009 to buy the former Madison Avenue fire station property. That illegal transaction allowed Bozanich to balance the city’s general fund that year.
The unlawful compensation convictions were for additional free golf from Briya and for not paying $10,000 in legal fees to attorney Stephen Garea for work the lawyer did for Bozanich’s ex-wife.
Marchionda, a co-defendant, was sentenced Sept. 3 to five years of probation and 1,250 hours of community service for four felony tampering-with-records convictions.
Briya, who cooperated with prosecutors and took a plea to five felonies Sept. 10, 2019, received 180 days of house arrest at the Sept. 3 sentencing.
Ex-Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone, another co-defendant, accepted a deal on March 16, 2020, to two felony tampering with records counts. He was placed on probation for five years and 30 days of community service.