Youngstown developer, former finance director enter pleas in corruption case

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As part of the plea agreement, Dominic Marchionda will have to give up control of several of his companies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two men entered plea deals Friday to their roles in a Youngstown corruption case from several years ago.

Developer Dominic Marchionda and his attorney walked away from the Mahoning County Courthouse having resolved a 100-count indictment against himself and others.

“I definitely regret certain acts that took place in October 2011 and I’ve accepted responsibility,” Marchionda said.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of tampering with records.

The city’s former finance director, David Bozanich, pleaded guilty to unlawful compensation to a public official, acceptance of a bribe and tampering with records.

In October 2017, Marchionda was indicted on more than 100 criminal charges including bribery, theft, tampering with records and fraud. Investigators say he misused city water fund money for his development projects.

Court documents say the $1.2 million was transferred to Marchionda’s business account from the City of Youngstown, then $1 million of that money was given back to Youngstown to purchase the old fire station. They also detailed the other expenditures made from his business accounts.

Prosecutors also say Marchionda stole from a charity to buy jewelry for his wife.

Bozanich, the city’s finance director until December 2017, is accused of receiving benefits in return for securing funding for economic development projects, including Marchionda’s.

The indictment claims on multiple occasions over several years, Bozanich got free entry to golf outings — amounting in the hundreds of dollars — as part of a bribe. Investigators say Bozanich paid back the fees to cover it up, but was then reimbursed.

“Not one dime of that money went to Mr. Bozanich’s personal benefit. It was to fund critical city services,” said Atty. Ralph Cascarilla, Bozanich’s lawyer.

Marchionda is the president of Rubino Construction, Inc. The entity pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of property.

Marchionda is also a member of U.S. Campus Suites LLC. The company pleaded guilty to one count of receiving stolen property.

As a condition of the plea agreement, Marchionda must remove himself from management responsibilities at Rubino Construction, Inc., Wick Properties LLC, Erie Terminal Place LLC and the NYO Property Group.

Marchionda said several of his companies provided a boost to redeveloping neighborhoods around Youngstown State.

“Five, six years ago, seven years ago, that just didn’t exist and along the process, we’ve created hundreds of jobs.”

Marchionda’s company owns several buildings downtown, including Wick Tower and Realty Tower. Last year, NYO Property Group put the Flats at Wick and Erie Terminal Building up for sale.

“He’s done, as he said, a considerable amount for this community,” said Atty. John McCaffrey, Marchionda’s lawyer. “That’s all going to be taken into consideration for the judge.”

Additionally, Marchionda agreed to pay $25,000 at the time of sentencing for the cost of prosecution.

Although both men could face prison time, their lawyers said they will argue for probation when they’re sentenced Sept. 3.

Former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone also faced charges and was tried separately, but almost all of the charges were wiped clean as part of a plea deal.

He received a five-year sentence of probation for failing to include rental income from a condo he owns in Florida on forms officeholders are required to fill out.

Sammarone did not plead guilty to bribery and his lawyer maintained he was not involved with Marchionda or Bozanich.

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