Niles city government facing empty council seats, down a law director

The announcements come as Niles is at the center of a corruption case surrounding its former mayor Ralph Infante

On Wednesday, Niles City Council held its first meeting since the levy was approved by voters. In attendance were members of the city's police and fire departments, which celebrated their colleagues soon return to work.

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles city government is facing a shortfall after three council members announced they will not seek reelection and the city’s law director is retiring.

During a council meeting Wednesday night, Council President Robert Marino, Councilman Stephen Papalas, Councilman Frank Pezzano and Law Director Terrence Dull all announced they are done next year.

The councilmen are up for reelection next year. All three said they won’t run because of family obligations. Dull is retiring in February because of health issues.

The council seats aren’t the only issue Niles is facing going into 2017. The city’s former mayor, Ralph Infante, is facing 56 charges including bribery, theft in office and misuse of city property.

Infante was indicted following an investigation into his dealings in the city as mayor and through an illegal gambling business investigators say he operated from ITAM 39, which he owns.

The court papers have details from investigators, saying that Infante accepted a $500 bribe in 1993 to give someone a job with the city. They claim he gave a job to someone whose friend worked on Infante’s property.

The accusations also include being bribed with tickets to the 2007 NCAA National Championship Game. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the indictment alleges that Infante got nearly $200,000 in unreported cash, income and gifts during his time in office.

The grand jury also indicted Infante’s wife, Judy, for tampering with evidence and a Niles City Water employee, Scott Shaffer, for theft in office. Neither spoke during their arraignments.

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