YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown developer Dominic Marchionda has been indicted on over 100 criminal charges.
Bribery, theft, tampering with records, fraud — the corruption described in a 73-page indictment released Monday by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is shocking, according to State Auditor Dave Yost.
The crimes happened from September 2009 to October 2015, according to the indictment.
Yost said the investigation has been ongoing for more than two years.
“What our investigators found is deeply disturbing,” he said.
The charges came after police raided Marchionda’s Poland home in March, taking out several boxes of financial records.
Marchionda is the CEO of NYO Property Group and has ties to more than 60 companies in the city.
NYO owns several buildings in downtown Youngstown, including Erie Terminal Place, the Flats at Wick, and Realty Tower. The property group is also working to renovate the historic Stambaugh Building to turn it into a hotel.
According to the indictment, Marchionda operated a Ponzi scheme so that he could funnel government money to “continue to live his lavish lifestyle and enrich himself.”
According to the indictment, the 105 charges against him are related to an investigation of a misuse of Youngstown water fund money and Float Loan monies during the Flats at Wick, Erie Terminal, and Wick Tower projects.
Marchionda is accused of using thousands of dollars on personal items using money obtained through grants, according to the indictment. The indictment says Marchionda submitted falsified payroll sheets to obtain funding for projects.
He’s also accused of taking money from The Par Golf Tournament/Rich Center for Autism.
Marchionda faces the following charges:
- One count of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, a felony of the first degree
- Three counts of Aggravated Theft, felonies of the first degree
- One count of Aggravated Theft, a felony of the second degree
- 65 counts of Money Laundering, felonies of the third degree
- 15 counts of Tampering with Records, felonies of the third degree
- Eight counts of Telecommunications Fraud, felonies of the third degree
- Two counts of Receiving Stolen Property, felonies of the third degree
- Two counts of Receiving Stolen Property, felonies of the fourth degree
- One count of Receiving Stolen Property, a felony of the fifth degree
- One count of Falsification, a felony of the third degree
- One count of Attempted Grand Theft, a felony of the fourth degree
- One count of Attempted Securing Writing by Deception, a felony of the fourth degree
- One count of Theft, a felony of the fifth degree
The indictment also indicates eight other individuals, John Doe 1 through 8, are involved. In a description of them, John Doe 8 is said to be a public official working for the City of Youngstown.
At one point the indictment reads, “John Doe 1 was told that ‘we need to take care of (John Doe 8)’.”
The court document states John Doe 1 paid John Doe 8 cash so that the Flats at Wick project would receive financial assistance from the City of Youngstown.
The document goes on to state later that the criminal operation began in the Spring of 2009 with a $25,000 bribe to a city official from a Youngstown-based business to ensure that the Flats at Wick project would obtain city approval and to “take care of Dave.”
The indictment also describes how Youngstown’s Finance Director David Bozanich, on or about May 7, 2009, declared that property owned by the City of Youngstown which was being used as a fire station was surplus city property and should be sold for economic development purposes.
That property ended up being sold to Marchionda through his company DJM Rental Properties but it was another of his companies, U.S. Campus Suites, that ended up with it. That company was involved in the Flats at Wick project that was eventually constructed on the site.
In July, Bozanich’s home, along with two other homes and an office, were raided.
Currently, only Marchionda is facing criminal charges as a result of the indictment.
John Doe 1 through 8 have not been charged but Auditor Yost is confident that more charges are likely.
“The Mahoning Valley and Youngstown have made some strides to put behind them their image and it’s unfortunate that we’ve got a situation like this occurring,” Yost said. “But at the end of the day, justice needs to be done and it will be.”
As of Monday, Bozanich is still employed by the City of Youngstown but not in his office. A call to his office for comment was not returned.
Also charged are Rubino Construction Inc., U.S. Campus Suites, Erie Terminal Place, LLC, Wick Properties, LLC, and Villas di Tuscany. The businesses face charges including theft, money laundering, and tampering with records.
Monday, Marchionda’s attorney released the following statement in response to the indictment:
We learned late this morning that a Mahoning County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Dominic Marchionda and several of the entities he operated or formed for development activities in the
City of Youngstown.
Dominic Marchionda believes in the rebirth of downtown Youngstown. He has taken dilapidated, abandoned buildings and breathed new life into them. He has renovated, rehabilitated and refurbished long forgotten downtown properties for modern day use. He risked a great deal, personally and professionally, in pursuing his dream for Youngstown.
The State alleges that Marchionda’s development success was accomplished through theft and deceit. It refers to his redevelopment projects and efforts as a “Ponzi scheme.”
Mr. Marchionda rejects the State’s characterizations and will defend his years of development work with evidence in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Ohio Auditor of State’s Public Integrity Assurance Team with the assistance of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is serving as a special assistant prosecutor with Mahoning County in this case.