NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday, WKBN has obtained a list of things that police took from the city of Niles during a raid on Thursday.
The receipt states that officers with the FBI, Ohio Bureau of Investigation and the State Auditor’s Office took:
- 6 drawings and blueprints for The Italian Marketplace in Niles
- 7 Hampton Inn drawings and blueprints
- 10 Cafaro headquarters drawings and blueprints
- 2 Residence Inn drawings and blueprints
- 9 Area Agency on Aging drawings and blueprints
- 1 bankers box containing Niles Building Department files for all the above building projects
The state auditor’s office is keeping the records.
WKBN also talked to the owner of The Italian Marketplace on State Route 422, who said that he didn’t know why investigators took the records and that he has done nothing wrong.
A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office declined to tell WKBN why the investigators performed the search, and warrants for the searches have been sealed.
Cafaro Company’s Director of Corporate Communications, Joe Bell, said he was shocked by the search and has no idea what prompted it.
“I was kind of mystified. I’ve no idea why they’d be interested in our projects or any of the contractors that might be involved in it,” he said.
The Italian Marketplace has no apparent ties to the Cafaro Company.
On Tuesday, a judge approved a request to appoint a special prosecutor, Daniel Kasaris of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, to oversee an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by government officials and others in Niles. Officials have not confirmed that the search on Thursday is related to that investigation.
Kasaris is also overseeing prosecution of Youngstown Mayor John McNally, former Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino and local lawyer Marty Yavorcik in the Oakhill Renaissance corruption case. A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said that the Niles raid is separate from the investigation into those three men.
Officials in Trumbull County said they are worried the investigation in Niles will have a ripple effect.
“Anytime that there are problems, no matter what city it is in the county, it affects the county,” said Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda.