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Courts and Crime


Indictments are a body blow to Youngstown's attempt to recreate itself
But residents say they -- and their city -- will move past charges against the mayor and county auditor
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Martini Brothers' Burger Bar. A popular spot on Youngstown's revitalized W. Federal Street
Courtesy of WLSI WKSU
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In The Region:

Youngstown has been working hard to change its image. And it has been succeeding.  But Wednesday, a bit of the bad old days seemed to crop back up with a breaking new story about Mayor John McNally; and oddly, at the very moment when locals were learning of a distinction for one of the leaders of the recovery.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell has more on a very mixed-news day in the Mahoning Valley.

LISTEN: Youngstown reacts to the indictments

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Along Youngstown’s revitalized West Federal Street, word came that the mayor, John McNally, had been re-indicted for corruption at the same time that word came of the former mayor, Jay Williams, having been appointed deputy secretary the U.S. Department of commerce.

The irony – set against the backdrop of the city’s history, wasn’t lost on customers of Martin Bros. Burger Bar.  Sean Fulkerson opened an ad agency in Youngstown in the 1990s, and David Gerin is a recent Kent grad:

“It’s called politics. I don’t know if he ticked off the wrong person or what, but, you know, it’s a weird town. It’s an old steel town and old mob town, but I think Youngstown is really trying to shake off those shackles.”

“It’s got to feel pretty awful for the people of Youngstown. But I don’t think it’s going to make a change in the upward movement of the downtown area.”

“As far as Youngstown’s momentum, no, because that’s business driven. Momentum happening downtown right now, government got it started but the private sector has taken it over and is just running with it.”

Three mayor's stories in one day
Outside, artist Daniel Rauschenbach and Steve Poullas, an IT consultant, talk about other ironies of timing and circumstance.

It’s the first sitting mayor indicted on corruption charges. That’s historic and it’s sad.”

“Welcome to Youngstown, Ohio.. …  It’s classic Youngstown, where someone gets ahead and gets brought back down. … But that’s old-school Youngstown and it can’t happen any more.”

“When McNally was running, he stated that he were indicted he would step down.” If he does that, they noted, the head of City Council, Charles Sammarone, would take over. He’s done that before. He took over when Jay  Williams was appointed to a post in the Obama Administration – where the Senate confirmed him to another post yesterday.

“So you have three Youngstown mayor’s stories in one day.”

Angel Cruz moved to Youngstown from Puerto Rico recently. He says corruption spreads well beyond Youngstown. “That’s the nature of human being period. … Church, government ,gangs in the streets when you have an organization and you have people… “




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.

Related WKSU Stories

Youngstown's mayor, Mahoning's auditor are indicted
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grand jury indicts Youngstown mayor, Mahoning County auditor
Thursday, May 15, 2014

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