Brown Says Indictments Hinder Development Efforts
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In a statement released Friday afternoon, Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said the indictment of former mayor Charles Sammarone and former city finance David Bozanich makes development projects in Youngstown more difficult.
“Any time an allegation is made, it makes it more difficult to convince prospective investors to locate or relocate in our beautiful city,” Brown said. “As mayor, I am embarrassed and angry that a former administration and officials may have used this city for personal gain.”
On Thursday, Sammarone and Bozanich were indicted by a Mahoning County grand jury in connection to charges filed last autumn against developer Dominic Marchionda.
Sammarone was indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, nine counts of bribery, three counts of tampering with records and one count of falsification. Bozanich was indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two counts of aggravated theft, 15 counts of bribery and one count of obstructing justice.
Among the allegations is that Bozanich accepted bribes from entities looking to do business in development projects in Youngstown, including an expansion at Exal Corp., one of the city’s first industrial success stories after retrenchment of the steel industry.
Brown said his administration is working to change the culture of city government.
“Taxpayers deserve honest government and the perception that government officials are honest. And this is exactly what my administration is providing,” he said.
The indictment supersedes the previous indictment of Marchionda. It includes new charges of theft relating to the use of insurance money for the Legal Arts building and laundering money from stolen insurance funds from the building.
In October, Marchionda was also indicted on allegations that he used public funds intended for his development projects, including the Erie Terminal building and Wick Tower, for personal use.
“I am mindful that an indictment is an allegation and my administration will let the judicial system work, as it should,” Brown said.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.