A look back: Oakhill documents released

(This story originally aired on July 26, 2012)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Totaling almost 200 pages, the documents name nearly all the defendants in the Oakhill investigation, including Valley businessman Anthony Cafaro and a number of current or former Mahoning County office holders. Among those named in the indictment are Auditor Mike Sciortino, former Treasurer John Reardon and Commissioner John McNally.

“Whatever’s in those papers, some I’ve seen, some I haven’t seen, you know, it is what it is,” said McNally.

The documents lay out assertions by special prosecutors that Cafaro was the leader of the alleged enterprise. Investigators claim the reported conspiracy was meant to delay efforts to purchase Oakhill Renaissance Place, and to move the Department of Job and Family Services out of the Cafaro-owned McGuffey Mall as well as to conceal the defendants’ involvement.

In exchange, the office holders allegedly received campaign donations and had legal services paid by Cafaro and his companies. Although the case was dismissed a year ago, McNally is still being cautious in what he says.

“I guess there’s always a chance that this case could be refiled at some point in time, so I’m not going to comment any more beyond that,” McNally said.

However, lawyers for Cafaro did issue a statement claiming the “allegations were never contested in court because the prosecution elected to dismiss the entire case” adding “Mr. Cafaro and the other defendants not only are presumed innocent, but are in fact innocent” of what the attorneys are calling “politically motivated allegations.”  Others are wondering what purpose is served by releasing the two-year-old documents now.

“It would bring up everything that was in the past. That’s over. I mean, we need to move ahead now.”

Something others involved in this case hope happens as well.

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