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Government and Politics


Grand jury indicts Youngstown mayor, Mahoning County auditor
The Ohio Supreme Court will decide if the auditor is removed, but the new state law doesn't cover the mayor
by WKSU's KEVIN NIEDERMIER


Reporter
Kevin Niedermier
 
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine talks about the indictments of Youngstown's mayor and Mahoning County's auditor. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty looks on.
Courtesy of KEVIN NIEDERMIER
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The mayor of Youngstown and the Mahoning County auditor have been indicted on corruption charges. Mayor John McNally and Auditor Michael Sciortino are facing more than 50 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, record tampering and perjury among other charges. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, this case is familiar to the defendants.

LISTEN: New versions of old charges, and what's next

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The charges against Mayor McNally and Auditor Sciortino stem from a case against them that was dismissed in 2011 and has been re-filed. In the first case, both men were charged with conspiring to help keep the county’s job and family services department in a Carafo Company retail property instead of moving it to a new site the county had purchased. McNally was a county commissioner at the time. A judge dismissed that case because the FBI refused to turn over surveillance tapes for the trial.

The new charges came out of a Cuyahoga County grand jury. County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty says that’s because some of the crimes were allegedly committed in Cuyahoga. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was appointed to conduct the investigation. 

“It was an independent investigation; we went into it with no preconceived notions and we carried out an investigation. This isn’t the first time the Attorney General’s office has been brought into case where there’s been previous investigations.”  

DeWine says the investigation is on-going, and more charges could be filed.

Sciortino’s case will be reviewed by an Ohio Supreme Court panel to decide if he can stay in office. DeWine says that is necessary because Sciortino is being charged with crimes allegedly committed while he was in the elected office he still holds.

“The statute is somewhat complicated, but in essence what it says is the Supreme Court, through their panel has the ability to remove that individual from office pending the outcome of the case. If they’re found innocent they can return to office. If the person’s found guilty, then the consequences are obviously different.”

DeWine says the same thing does not apply to McNally because he’s not a county commissioner anymore.

A call to McNally was not returned, and there was no answer at the Sciortino residence. Before the indictments were announced Wednesday, both men told the Youngstown Vindicator they didn’t not know they were being indicted, but that they are innocent. Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik was also indicted. His attorney told the Vindicator that he, too, is innocent. 





Timeline of Youngstown developments

•        July 2006: Mahoning County buys Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center, from U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The county intends to move Job and Family Services offices from rented space at Garland Plaza – owned by Cafaro & Co. – to Oakhill. 

•        Ohio Valley Mall, a Cafaro & Co. subsidiary, files a taxpayer suit to block the Oakhill purchase. Then-Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV and others are accused of lying during depositions in 2007. The suit ultimately fails. 

•        July 2007: The county’s Job and Family Services offices move. 

•        August 2010: McNally and county Auditor Michael Sciortino are indicted on corruption charges, accused of accepting legal advice from Cafaro and lying about it.  

•        July 2011: Local charges are dropped after the FBI refuses to turn over tape recordings in a criminal investigation. 

•        2012: McNally decides not to run for his third term as commissioner. 

•        2013: McNally runs for and is elected Youngstown mayor 

•        May 14, 2014: McNally and Sciortino are indicted on new charges.


Breakdown of the charges

Youngstown Mayor John McNally IV

  • One Count of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, a Felony of the First Degree;
  • Two Counts of Conspiracy, Felonies of the Second Degree;
  • Two Counts of Bribery, Felonies of the Third Degree;
  • Six Counts of Tampering with Records, Felonies of the Third Degree;
  • Nine Counts of Perjury, Felonies of the Third Degree;
  • One Count of Money Laundering, a Felony of the Third Degree;
  • Two Counts of Telecommunications Fraud, Felonies of the Fourth Degree;
  • Two Counts of Theft in Office, Felonies of the Fourth Degree;
  • Two Counts of Unlawful Compensation, Misdemeanors of the First Degree;
  • Three Counts of Disclosing Confidential Information, Misdemeanors of the First Degree;
  • Four Counts of Prohibited Acts, Ethics, Misdemeanors of the Fourth Degree.

Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino 

  • One Count of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, a Felony of the First Degree;
  • Two Counts of Conspiracy, Felonies of the Second Degree;
  • Two Counts of Bribery, Felonies of the Third Degree;
  • Four Counts of Tampering with Records, Felonies of the Third Degree
  • Six Counts of Perjury, Felonies of the Third Degree;
  • One Count of Money Laundering, a Felony of the Third Degree;
  • Two Counts of Unlawful Compensation, Misdemeanors of the First Degree; and
  • Four Counts of Prohibited Acts, Ethics, Misdemeanors of the First Degree. 

Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik

  • One Count of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, a felony of the First Degree;
  • Two Counts of Conspiracy, Felonies of the Second Degree;
  • Three Counts of Bribery, Felonies of the Third Degree;
  • Seventeen Counts of Tampering with Records, Felonies of the Third Degree; and
  • Four Counts of Money Laundering, Felonies of the Third Degree.
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