No jail time for McNally, Sciortino in Oakhill corruption case

Because the mayor's charges are misdemeanors, he can remain in office

Michael Sciortino and John McNally are scheduled to be sentenced today.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A judge sentenced Youngstown Mayor John McNally and former Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino to one year of probation each in a Cleveland courtroom Monday.

The two accepted plea deals last month surrounding the corruption case that centered on the county purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place in Youngstown. As part of their plea deal, they will also have to complete community service.

Sciortino pleaded guilty to a felony, which means he can’t hold public office for seven years. McNally pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, so there is no legal reason for him to leave office.

After Monday’s hearing, he said he has no intention of resigning as mayor.

“I’m going to go back to Youngstown, continue to serve as mayor, plan to run for reelection next year. Hopefully, the citizens of Youngstown will elect me for another term at the right time,” he said.

McNally also has to pay $3,500 in fines. Judge Janet Burnside decided not to give Sciortino any fines.

McNally pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts: two counts of falsification, each a misdemeanor of the first degree; one count of attempted unlawful use of a telecommunications device, a misdemeanor of the first degree and one count of attempted unlawful influence of a public official, a misdemeanor of the second degree.

His original charges included perjury, telecommunications fraud and public official using unlawful influence.

Sciortino pleaded guilty to two felony counts and three misdemeanors: one count of unlawful interest in a public contract, a felony of the fourth degree; one count of falsification, a misdemeanor of the first degree; and one count of receiving or soliciting improper compensation, a misdemeanor of the first degree. He was accused of misusing his county-owned computers for political reasons.

His charges were amended from record tampering, perjury and soliciting improper compensation charges.

The investigation centered around allegations that McNally and Sciortino interfered in the purchase of the Oakhill Renaissance Place to prevent county offices from being moved from the Cafaro-owned McGuffey Plaza.

After McNally pleaded guilty on February 26, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras demanded McNally resign as Youngstown mayor. Betras would not comment Monday on the resignation or the sentenced handed down.

Youngstown's First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver said he believes McNally's resignation will only hurt the city.
Youngstown’s First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver said he does not believe that Youngstown Mayor John McNally should resign.

Youngstown’s First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver said he believes McNally’s resignation will only hurt the city.

“I don’t think a resignation would do any good at this point,” he said. “He is, by far, one of the most progressive mayors we’ve had. I think the good job he’s doing should continue, especially now that this case is over.”

Betras said he would like the entire Oakhill ordeal to end.

“It’s just like an open, festering wound,” he said. “The faster we just move on as a community, the better off we’re all going to be.”

A jury found the third defendant in the case, Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik, guilty last week on eight counts, including bribery, records tampering, money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 22.

Prosecutors alleged Yavorcik agreed to drop an investigation into McNally and Sciortino if he became the county prosecutor.

Yavorcik denied that he agreed to drop the investigation for money and said he had personal grudges against the prosecutor he was seeking to unseat.

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