YOUNGSTOWN - The Ohio Supreme Court this morning ordered that court records be unsealed in a now-dismissed criminal case against a former area businessman and two current and two former county officials.
The case against the five people and three businesses charged with attempting to delay or stop the purchase of the now-county owned Oakhill Renaissance Place building was dismissed more than a year ago, and defendants in the case asked the judge to keep sealed the remaining records, including the bills of particulars, which detailed the charges.
Visiting Judge William H. Wolff Jr. had ruled Sept. 9, 2010 that all filings, including the bills of particulars be sealed. He ordered a slew of filings unsealed in December 2010 and another batch of records were unsealed Aug. 24.
The case was dismissed, on prosecutors request, in June 2011 because the F.B.I., who, according to unsealed records in the case, conducted surveillance on some of the defendants, refused to give prosecutors the surveillance tapes.
Prosecutors said without the F.B.I. tapes, they would violate discovery rules to provide all evidence to defense attorneys.
Wolff ruled the charges could be refiled.
The case involves Anthony Cafaro Sr., the former president of the Cafaro Co. and its two subsidiaries, the Ohio Valley Mall Co. and the Marion Plaza Inc., who was part of a 73-count indictment filed July 28.
The charges claim that they conspired to stop Mahoning County from purchasing Oak Hill Renaissance Place to house county agencies instead of continuing to pay rent at Cafaro-owned property.
Also indicted were Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV, county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino, former Treasurer John Reardon, former director of the Jobs and Family Services John Zachariah, and Cafaro attorney Martin Yavorcik. All maintained innocence throughout proceedings and after the charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the charges can be filed again without violating double jeopardy laws.
Charges range from corruption, bribery, conspiracy, perjury, money laundering, tampering with records, disclosure of confidential information and soliciting or accepting improper compensation.
Yavorcik and Flora Cafaro were not charged in the conspiracy, but in a separate charge that Flora Cafaro gave Yavorcik an illegal $15,000 check to finance his unsuccessful campaign to become the Mahoning County prosecutor, the bill of particulars, which was filed before Judge Wolff sealed all motions in the case.
Mahoning County purchased the Oakhill Renaissance Place building in July 2006 and moved JFS offices out of the Cafaro-owned Garland Plaza a year later.