Antonini to be sentenced, 2 years after plea

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AKRON, Ohio— Former Mahoning County treasurer Lisa Antonini will be sentenced more than two years after she admitted to taking a $3,000 bribe from a Youngstown businessman.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi set Antonini’s sentencing date for Nov. 13. Lioi has twice granted Antonini permission to travel to West Virginia after the plea hearing.

Antonini, 43, pleaded guilty June 3, 2011 to a bill of information that charged her with accepting the $3,000 from the businessman in exchange for supporting his interests and taking “official action on his behalf if the opportunities arose,” the bill said.

Prosecutors have since declined to name the businessman outright. The charges, however, say the businessman gave her the $3,000 gift on Jan. 16, 2008, and, for the same day a $200 contribution was listed on Antonini’s campaign finance report.

A search of Antonini’s campaign finance report shows a $200 contribution from Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., who was then the president of the Cafaro Co.

The bill of information further said the area businessman had “matters under the supervision of the Mahoning County Treasurer” at the time.

Bribery and other charges were dropped against Cafaro and Mahoning County officials after the FBI refused to provide evidence, including surveillance, to special prosecutors. Youngstown mayoral candidate John McNally, then a county commissioner, and current county auditor Michael Sciortino were also charged in what was referred to as the Oakhill case that alleged the group conspired to block a move from Cafaro-owned property to the county-owned Oakhill Renaissance place.

Antonini was never charged in that case.

Federal authorities uncovered the gift to Antonini during the same investigation that led authorities to convict former Trumbull County Commissioner James A. Tsagaris and former Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen A. Cronin, court filings said. According to filings and court transcripts, both Tsagaris and Cronin were charged with taking large sums of money from Cafaro’s sister, Flora Cafaro.

Antonini resigned May 16, 2011 hours after the charges were filed. She agreed to assist federal and state investigators in an unnamed case in exchange for a less harsh sentence.

Antonini was given a traffic ticket after her plea hearing for parking in a handicapped space in front of the Akron federal courthouse. She apologized for the bribe in court.

Antonini was elected the county treasurer March 5, 2007, after working in the treasurer’s office for seven years.

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