Government

BCI, Sheriff Raid NYO Office, Marchionda’s Home

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Twenty law enforcement officers, including those from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Ohio auditor’s office and the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, met this morning at the state auditor’s office in the George V. Voinovich Government Center downtown before executing search warrants for the home of developer Dominic Marchionda and the office of NYO Property Group.

An employee of the auditor’s office taking pictures outside Marchionda’s home, 7886 Via Attilo in Poland Township, told The Business Journal the activity is being carried out by the Public Integrity Unit of the auditor’s office. Meanwhile, the doors to NYO’s office were locked with a sheriff’s deputy standing guard and inside, deputies can be seen collecting materials from the office.

A spokesman for the auditor’s office declined to comment on today’s raids or the status of the investigation, which is believed to be connected to the expenditure by NYO Property Group of more than $1.7  million in city grants marked to fund water-related expenses at Marchionda’s apartment projects.

Attorney Martin Hume, the city’s law director, said he had no direct knowledge regarding the contents of the search warrants and could not comment.

He did say, however, that the city has fully cooperated with all of the state auditor’s requests for information related to Marchionda’s grants.

“We provided a variety of documents and information and that’s all I know,” Hume said. “All requests for documents were met.”

Marchionda is currently restoring and renovating the landmark Stambaugh building downtown, a $31 million project that will transform the landmark into a DoubleTree hotel. An update on that project is featured in the latest print edition of The Business Journal.

In 2015, the state issued subpoenas for “any and all documentation” for grant monies directed toward the development of the Erie Building, Wick Tower and The Flats at Wick projects. The Erie project received $220,000 in city of Youngstown water and wastewater funds, while the Wick Tower project received $500,000. The Flats at Wick received $1.2 million.

The subpoenas were issued Nov. 16, 2015, as part of an audit of the city’s finances for 2014.

According to the subpoenas, the grants required that funds be used by NYO to improve water lines serving the properties. Funds were to be paid to the developer when they city received paid invoices submitted by Marchionda or the NYO subsidiaries working on the projects.

Marchionda’s attorney at the time, Michael J. McGee, filed a legal complaint against the state questioning whether the state auditor is a “policing agency” and arguing the subpoenas violate his client’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In January 2016,  McGee told The Business Journal, “Dominic Marchionda is an honest businessman. He does what he thinks is best for the city of Youngstown and the community and he’s entitled to honest answers if people are asking for a ton of documents.”

City officials at the time said they were unsure why the office issued the subpoenas.

Attorneys for Marchionda dropped their complaint against the state in February 2016.

Background:
Jan. 16, 2016: City Provides Records of Marchionda Grant Payments
Jan. 7, 2016: Marchionda Fights Subpoenas for Records of City Grants

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.