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Judge Allows Grand Jury Testimony in Corruption Case

July 24, 2019
Sammarone, Bozanich Indicted in Marchionda Probe

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning County Common Pleas judge overseeing the corruption trial of two former city officials and a local developer has ordered prosecutors to release to the defendants the grand jury testimonies of two witnesses in the case.

In a judgment entry filed July 18, Judge Maureen Sweeney ordered the state to provide the testimonies of Raymond Briya and Donald D’Andrea, two witnesses who factor prominently in the criminal probe of ex-mayor Charles Sammarone, ex-finance director David Bozanich and businessman Dominic Marchionda.

The state has indicated it would not oppose the request for the testimony, according to court papers.

Prosecutors indicted Sammarone, Bozanich, Marchionda and 10 companies affiliated with Marchionda on Aug. 20, 2018, on 101 counts of corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.  

All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their trial is scheduled to begin June 1, 2020.

According to court documents, Sammarone and Bozanich accepted bribes from a “John Doe 6” in order to steer work to the company he worked for without that company’s knowledge, described in the indictment as “Company 2.”

In September 2018, The Business Journal identified John Doe 6 as Briya and the company as MS Consultants, a civil engineering and architectural firm in Youngstown. MS Consultants said then that it is cooperating with the investigation and that the company had no knowledge of the alleged activities.

Prosecutors say John Doe 6 paid Bozanich at least $100,000 between 2006 and 2013 through a travel agency that Bozanich once co-owned and paid Sammarone at least $10,000 over a period of 23 months.

D’Andrea, a former vice president of B&B Contractors and Developers and referred to in the indictment as “John Doe 8,” formed Exal Leasing LLC along with Briya and Philip Beshara, B&B’s ex-president. The indictment alleges that Briya paid Bozanich money in return for support of a project that Exal Leasing was involved with. 

In a court filing July 18 in opposition to Sammarone’s request for a separate trial, Special Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Daniel Kasaris noted that “several witnesses” might be called to testify against the three defendants.  

“Sammarone and Bozanich’s crimes are of the same character and involve the same person who was providing the two men benefits for the same reason – to secure work for his company,” the filing said.

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Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.