YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – During his second day on the witness stand, Youngstown Mayor John McNally maintained his opposition to the purchase of the Oakhill Renaissance Place, saying it was the right thing to do, but he admitted having second thoughts about getting legal help from lawyers hired by the Cafaro Company.
“In your gut, you have to think about some things… Something was in my gut,” he said.
McNally was called to testify as part of his plea deal with prosecutors, who are trying to show a conspiracy to keep Mahoning County from buying the old Southside Hospital and moving the Department of Job and Family Services out of the Cafaro-owned McGuffey Mall.
Martin Yavorcik is the last defendant in the case and is accused of conspiring with others to derail the investigation if he could have been elected county prosecutor. He was the only one of three defendants not to take a plea deal, and he is representing himself in court. He faces 11 charges, including bribery.
The mayor told Yavorcik that he believed the case was politically motivated between incumbent Paul Gains and members of the Cafaro family.
“A couple times, Mr. Gains would indicate, make comments about my friendship with ‘people on Belmont Avenue,'” he said.
And at one point in the trial, Yavorcik pointedly questioned McNally about their relationship.
“Did you bribe me?” he asked.
“I did not,” McNally replied.
“Did I promise not to investigate you?” he asked.
“You did not,” McNally said.
After McNally, B.J. Alan owner Bruce Zoldan took the stand, testifying that he was approached in 2008 to support Yavorcik.
“Anthony Cafaro, Sr. asked me to consider contributing to his campaign,” he said.
Although Zoldan declined, he told prosecutors Cafaro complained about what he called a “vendetta” against him.
“It was well known that he didn’t like Mr. Gains, and we would like to see someone else be the prosecutor in Mahoning County,” Zoldan said.
Prosecutors said Gains is expected to testify sometime Monday. The state could wrap up its case early next week.