McNally Minimizes Charges; 'I've Been Proven Correct'

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Mayor John A. McNally IV today dismissed the 34 felony and misdemeanor charges in an indictment handed down by a Cuyahoga County grand jury Wednesday afternoon.

As a crew from John’s Tree and Stump Removal Ltd., New Springfield, worked on clearing away a 50-year-old tree that had fallen on his Burma Drive house during last night’s storms, McNally characterized the indictment of him, Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino and attorney Marty Yavorcik as “a rehashing” of the saga involving the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place.    

He said he expects to remain mayor. “I think in our first four months in office we’ve done a great job here in the city,” he said.

“To be honest, because of all this mess, I really haven’t seen or heard everything,” he said. The tree, which came down during last night’s severe weather, did minor damage to the exterior of McNally’s house as well as damage to he and his wife’s bedroom.

In 2010, McNally, at the time a county commissioner, and Sciortino were indicted for allegedly conspiring with Anthony Cafaro Sr., then CEO of The Cafaro Co., to block the county’s purchase of Oakhill. The Cafaro Co. was renting office space to the county Department of Jobs and Family Services at the McGuffey Mall on Garland Avenue on the East Side. The county department was the property’s sole tenant.

The charges were dismissed without prejudice after the Federal Bureau of Investigation refused to share the evidence its agents had gathered in their separate investigation with the county Prosecutor Paul Gains.  

“This drama won’t end but I’m convinced during that course of time -- six, seven, almost eight years ago -- I took the right action to protect what I thought were the interests of the taxpayers,” McNally remarked. “Over time, quite frankly, I think I’ve been proven correct about that.”

McNally said he had planned to be at work today but instead he’ll be at home dealing with the insurance adjustor and other issues regarding the damage -- but he plans to be at the office tomorrow.

“We’ll deal with [the indictment] as it goes along,” he said. “When we dealt with it the first time, I didn’t talk about the specifics and I won’t really talk about the specifics now. We’ll talk with my attorney, figure out what we have to do in the interim.”

Wednesday’s indictment came as a surprise to Bob Hennessy, McNally's neighbor, who said he was surprised when he heard about the indictment. Damage at Hennessy's place was minor compared to McNally’s house, although a backyard swing and trampoline were damaged by the storm.

‘He didn’t have one of his better days yesterday,” Hennessy acknowledged.

“I don’t believe that he’s guilty of anything that he’s being charged with whatsoever,” he added.

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Copyright 2013 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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