YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In his only on-camera interview following news of his indictment by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on Wednesday, Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino talked to WKBN 27 First News reporter Josh Frketic one-on-one.
He said that everything done involving Oakhill Renaissance Place was properly done and this move is politically driven.
“I did nothing wrong. Nothing, nothing wrong,” Sciortino said.
Sciortino is defending himself again, this time regarding indictments of corruption, bribery, and forgery among others dealing with the purchase of the Oak Hill building on Youngstown’s South Side.
“FIfteen million dollars in that building and now I am on trial again, for the second time,” he said.
In 2010, Sciortino faced similar charges by a Mahoning County grand jury involving Oakhill.
“I am here to tell you that I did nothing wrong. I will stand up for what I believe is right. And I ask questions about that building and I continue to ask questions about the finances of that building and other things in Mahoning County,” Sciortino said.
The 2010 charges were dropped, and now Sciortino believes that these new charges are politically driven, to try and get a Republican in the auditor’s chair.
“Well, Mr. DeWine my campaign for county auditor is a campaign against you, Mr. DeWine. 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.
Several local officials have praised the work that Sciortino has done as auditor. Some that we talked to Wednesday said that those in the indictment are innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment information will be sent to the State Supreme Court who will decide whether to relieve Sciortino of his duties of county auditor, or let him remain in office and let the voters decide in November.