YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Shortly after Wednesday’s press conference in Cleveland regarding the indictments of current Youngstown Mayor John McNally and Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino, we tried talking with McNally about the allegations.
McNally said he did not watch the press conference because he was meeting with a community group in his office, talking about code enforcement.
The mayor said he is going to be talking about Wednesday’s activity out of Cleveland and the charges against him. He also said he was going to be holding his regular schedule on Wednesday, attending a number of public events.
Mahoning County Auditor MIke Sciortino said he is “extremely upset” with the series of events that came out on Wednesday. He said he was never informed that there were indictments coming against him or McNally.
He also said he feels this is solely a political ploy from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to try to get a Republican in office in Mahoning County.
“Well, Mr. DeWine my campaign for county auditor is a campaign against you. Your contributions, your pay-for-stay, your pay for justice in Columbus. My campaign for county auditor is a campaign against you. Because this in a campaign year to do what you are doing to this community is not right and it is wrong and you know it,” Sciortino said.
By law, DeWine turned the indictment over to the Ohio Supreme Court for a committee to decide whether Sciortino should remain in office as Mahoning County Auditor while these charges are pending. That does not apply to McNally, since he was in office as Mahoning County Commissioner at that time.
The Cuyahoga County grand jury also indicted Martin Yavorcik, who ran for Mahoning County prosecutor against Paul Gains in 2008.
We could not reach Yavorcik, but his lawyer, Bill Summers, questioned why the indictment is coming out of Cuyahoga County.
“This case has been indicted before, dismissed and it’s been in the hopper I think since 2005. From everything that I know, in order to make venue, they would have to drive a square peg in a round hole,” Summers said.
The indictment accuses at least one Cleveland law firm and several attorneys of involvement in the criminal activity, but they are not identified.
The defendants will be summoned to court in Cuyahoga County, but that date hasn’t been set. DeWine and three assistants have been deputized as special prosecutors to try the case.
But First News legal analyst Attorney Matt Mangino does not expect DeWine himself to actually be in court.
In his comments, DeWine indicated the corruption took place in Mahoning and Cuyahoga counties, which is why there is jurisdiction to pursue the charges in Cuyahoga County. Mangino said when these defendants were indicted in 2010 by a Mahoning County grand jury, the FBI would not turn over thousands of hours of surveillance tapes to prosecutors before trial.
“So it’s going to be interesting to see how Cuyahoga County, or the attorney general’s office, intends to get around that issue that was so important in 2010 that it resulted in the charges being dismissed,” Mangino said.
He said any legal fees for the defendants will be paid out of their own pockets. No city or county money will be used to cover any costs to fight these charges in court.