The criminal conviction against a former attorney from the Youngstown area has been tossed out in the Oakhill corruption case.
In 2016, Martin Yavorcik was convicted of engaging in a pattern of corruption, conspiracy, tampering with records, three counts of bribery and two counts of money laundering.
Yavorcik was accused of campaigning against Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains to stop an investigation into Youngstown Mayor John McNally and former Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino. The two were accused of trying to halt the purchase of the Oakhill Renaissance Place for the county offices — all in exchange for tens of thousands in campaign contributions from members of the Cafaro mall development family.
In a 49-page opinion, the 8th Appellate District Court of Appeals wrote that there was nothing to tie Yavorcik and the efforts to prevent officials from buying Oakhill Renaissance Place to Cuyahoga County and that the case should have never been tried there, saying the venue was inappropriate.
McNally and Sciortino later pleaded guilty to charges in the case but Yavorcik went to trial in Cleveland acting as his own attorney.
The judges ruled this week, however, that Yavorcik “played no part” in the Oakhill case and prosecutors failed to prove he was part of any association or conspiracy. The judges concluded that because of the lack of evidence or venue that “Yavorcik’s convictions cannot stand,” and sent the case back to the trial court in Cleveland to be vacated or thrown out.
Yavorcik had been sentenced to five years of probation, including one year of house arrest.
WKBN contacted Yavorcik on Thursday afternoon, who was not aware of the update in his case. He said he wanted to confer with his attorney before making comment.
Officials with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office are reviewing the ruling to determine if they will appeal.