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Student-housing complex up for auction

YOUNGSTOWN — The Flats at Wick, a student-housing complex at the heart of a Youngstown public bribery scandal, is to be auctioned off.

The property, with an address of 139 W. Madison Ave., is on the Mahoning County Sheriff’s sale list for auctions at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and Aug. 30.

The sale list states the minimum bid is $3.8 million and that the property is worth $5.7 million.

The property was developed and owned by Flats at Wick LLC, a company with developer Dominic Marchionda and his wife, Jacqueline, as the managing members and guarantors.

The company defaulted on a $5.5 million loan, borrowed Dec. 31, 2012, and U.S. Bank National Association sued in 2019.

Flats at Wick LLC — which owed $6.32 million with interest and other fees — agreed in a Feb. 22 settlement to turn over the property to the bank unless it paid the money owed in three days. That didn’t happen, and it’s going up for auction.

Marchionda pleaded guilty Aug. 7, 2020, to four felony counts of tampering with records, all occurring on Oct. 6, 2011, when he admitted he used false invoices to get money from Youngstown for his Erie Terminal Place downtown-housing project to pay bills he owed for Flats on Wick.

He received five years of probation and 1,250 hours of community service.

Also, David Bozanich, a former city finance director, pleaded guilty Aug. 7, 2020, to two felonies and two misdemeanors and spent nearly a year in a state prison.

A felony tampering with records conviction was for giving $1.2 million from the city’s water fund to Marchionda if the developer gave $1 million back to the city’s general fund in December 2009 to buy the former Madison Avenue fire station property as part of the Flats at Wick deal. That illegal transaction allowed Bozanich to balance the city’s general fund that year.

The Flats at Wick was the first major development project Marchionda did in Youngstown and at one time was one of the largest downtown property owners in the city before a 101-count indictment was unsealed Aug. 30, 2018, against him, several of his companies, as well as Bozanich and former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone.

Sammarone took a plea March 17, 2020, to two felony counts of tampering with records not related to Marchionda. He was placed on probation for five years and given 30 days of community service.

The state auditor announced Nov. 4, 2021, that it was seeking nearly $7.87 million in findings for recovery against Marchionda, several of his companies, his wife, a business partner and Bozanich.

The largest finding of $6.58 million was for an unpaid 2013 state energy loan for Wick Towers, a downtown apartment complex co-owned by Marchionda.

A smaller finding of $294,077 was leveled against the Marchiondas for an unpaid state loan on Flats at Wick.

The findings are still unpaid.

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