CLEVELAND, Ohio (WYTV) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a Cuyahoga County grand jury indictment of Youngstown Mayor John McNally and Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino Wednesday, both on a first-degree felony charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity in connection with the purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place.
The grand jury also indicted Martin Yavorcik, a Youngstown attorney who ran against current Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains in 2008, on the same charge.
“It’s never a happy day when we have to announce corruption charges involving public officials,” DeWine said. “These are serious charges handed down by the grand jury.”
The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas should issue an arraignment date for the three defendants, at which time they will be expected to appear in court, according to a statement from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. There will not be an arrest prior to that.
McNally was indicted for his actions as a commissioner. The charges against him include 25 felony counts — including allegations of conspiracy and bribery.
Sciortino was indicted on 16 felony counts, with similar charges.
Yavorcik faces 27 felony charges — including 16 counts of tampering with records. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty’s office helped with the investigation.
“Corruption caused great damage to the community and the community confidence,” McGinty said. “And as we have seen in the past in Cuyahoga County and in Youngstown considerable damage has already been inflicted.”
The 67-page indictment accuses John McNally of giving a law firm confidential documents related to Mahoning County’s purchase of the old South Side Hospital.
It also accuses McNally of filing false ethics reports because he didn’t list gifts or money he was given.
Sciortino is accused of similar wrongdoing and of lying during a lawsuit to keep the county’s $480 thousand dollar rent going to the Ohio Valley Mall, which was owned by the Cafaro Company.
A Mahoning County grand jury indicted Sciortino and McNally on corruption charges in the Oakhill case during the summer of 2010. Those charges were later dismissed. The charges introduced Wednesday are different from those leveled against the pair in 2010, DeWine said.
“I can’t tell you whether we’ll have more charges or won’t have more charges,” DeWine said. “I can simply say that we are not done. The case is still under investigation, whether there will be additional charges, I simply cannot tell you at this moment.”
A Cafaro Company spokesperson said the organization had no comment.
The indictment came out of Cuyahoga County because some aspects of the alleged crime occurred there.
DeWine pointed out that the accused are innocent until proven guilty and can remain in office and run for re-election while the investigation is going on. If found guilty, Sciortino and McNally could have to leave any offices to which they may be elected.
DeWine said that the investigation is ongoing but that it is “ripe” enough to go to a hearing.
Earlier Wednesday, Sciortino responded to the allegations.
“From one elected official to another, if we are going down this road again, I want to hear it from DeWines mouth directly, not one of his assistants,” Sciortino said. “Why is it that the only county-wide official that has a Republican running against him has this coming out now?…If he had any guts, he would call me directly.”
Wednesday, McNally said he fully intends to be Youngstown’s mayor and has no plans to resign.