Ohio mayor pleads guilty to corruption charges -- but remains in office
A judge's gavel (Shutterstock)

The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, on Friday accepted a plea agreement on multiple political corruption charges involving a property deal made while he was a county commissioner in the area, the state's Attorney General's office said.

Mayor John McNally, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts including unlawful influence of a public official, said Daniel Tierney, spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Youngstown is a city of 67,000 people about 65 miles southeast of Cleveland.

The plea allows McNally, who was elected mayor in 2014, to stay in office. The conspiracy, bribery and perjury charges stem from his nine years as Mahoning County commissioner starting in 2005 until he was elected mayor.

Under Ohio law, a felony conviction bars anyone from holding most public offices for seven years.

Prosecutors said McNally was part of a scheme to inflate the cost of moving the Mahoning County jobs and family services office from a rental property to benefit a local business owner.

McNally had previously been indicted on similar charges in 2010. The charges were dismissed, but the judge ruled they could be filed again at a later date.

Former Mahoning County auditor Michael Sciortino and Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik along with McNally were part of an 83-count indictment brought in 2014 by the Ohio Attorney General’s office alleging a pattern of corruption.

Sciortino, also a Democrat, pleaded guilty to one felony count and two misdemeanor charges including receiving or soliciting improper compensation.

Sentencing for McNally and Sciortino is scheduled for March 28 in Cuyahoga County courthouse, in downtown Cleveland. McNally faces a maximum 18 months in prison, Sciortino faces a maximum of 2-1/2 years, Tierney said.

In addition to the plea in a Cuyahoga County court, Sciortino agreed to plead guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor in Mahoning County court at a later date, Tierney said.

Prosecutors said Sciortino is accused of tampering with records to inflate the cost of moving the county jobs office.

Yavorcik accepted political contributions as a candidate for prosecutor in exchange for a promise to stop investigations into wrongdoing by county officials, according to the indictment. His trial is scheduled for March 14 in Cuyahoga County.

(Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis)