CLEVELAND: The Youngstown mayor and a former Mahoning County auditor, just days from the start of their corruption trial, pleaded guilty Friday to reduced charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors looking into efforts to stop the county from moving government offices out of a building owned by a wealthy developer.
Mayor John McNally, former Auditor Michael Sciortino and Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik were indicted in May 2014 on charges including racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and perjury.
McNally pleaded guilty in a Cleveland courtroom to misdemeanor counts of falsification, attempted unlawful use of a telecommunications device and attempted unlawful influence of a public official. Sciortino pleaded guilty to felony unlawful interest in a public contract and misdemeanor falsification and receiving or soliciting improper compensation.
McNally and Sciortino are Democrats, and McNally’s pleas don’t disqualify him from holding public office. The two men are scheduled to be sentenced March 28. Their attorneys didn’t return telephone messages seeking comment.
Yavorcik’s case is pending in Cuyahoga County, where the indictment was issued because some of the illegal acts occurred there, prosecutors said. A trial for the three men was scheduled to begin Monday. Yavorcik has pleaded not guilty, and his trial has been postponed until March 14.
Prosecutors said shortly after the indictments were filed that the three men led an unsuccessful effort to block the move of Mahoning County Department of Jobs and Family Services offices between 2005 and 2009 to a former medical building the county bought out of bankruptcy in 2006. McNally voted against the move as a county commissioner in 2006, and he was elected mayor of Youngstown in 2013.
It was the second time prosecutors filed charges in the case. A visiting judge in Mahoning County dismissed all charges in 2011, when the FBI refused to turn over thousands of hours of surveillance tapes sought by defense attorneys.
The former offices for the county agency were owned by Cafaro Co., a development company controlled by a wealthy and influential family in the Mahoning Valley. The building has been demolished.