Marchionda Pre-Trial Hearing to Continue Feb. 12

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The pretrial hearing in the corruption case of developer Dominic Marchionda and former Youngstown finance director David Bozanich will resume next month following a morning session Thursday, the hearing’s fourth day. 

Little in terms of new information came to light during the hearing, which is focusing on motions to dismiss charges and suppress evidence over statute of limitations and attorney-client privilege issues.

Taking the stand during the morning session were Chris Rudy, a former fraud investigator with the Ohio Auditor’s office, and Marti Kane, Youngstown human resources supervisor.

Rudy, who retired last year, previously testified Jan. 24. He was called back to the stand yesterday after the filing of an amended bill of particulars Monday. 

Under questioning by Bozanich’s attorney, Ralph Cascarilla, Rudy said that in the course of his investigation involving Bozanich, he had a meeting during an investigation into the city of Niles he was involved in with an FBI agent. The agent said he should talk to a colleague in his office – Anthony Sano, who testified Monday – who had done an investigation into Bozanich.

Cascarilla then introduced a handful of investigative reports, including one based on a Sept. 15, 2010, interview with Bozanich’s ex-wife, Joyce. In the report, she talks about Bozanich receiving tickets to events for free, usually provided by MS Consultants and B&B Contractors and Developers. Both firms “got business with the city of Youngstown” and key company officials would pay for golf and dinners at various local country clubs, she said.

Joyce Bozanich also said she believed that her husband received “financial benefits” from Delfin Gibert, founder of Exal Corp., which at the time was attempting to acquire city-owned land on Salt Springs Road. In addition, investigators probed the couple’s tax returns and Bozanich’s cell phone. 

Rudy testified that his investigation indicated that MS Consultants submitted fraudulent billings to the city. 

“They submitted them though Mr. Marchionda,” he said. While Bozanich signed off on the checks as finance director and a member of the city’s Board of Control, he acknowledged contracts are approved by City Council.

Topics revisited included a Marchionda-affiliated company’s purchase of a fire station on the North Side and Marchionda’s purchase of jewelry from a Warren jeweler using an autism charity’s account.

Kane, who took the stand first Thursday morning, was mainly asked about Bozanich’s retirement as finance director at the end of 2012 and his subsequent rehiring. Bozanich’s statement of resignation was dated Dec. 28, 2012, and he was rehired effective Jan. 1, 2013. 

When an employee retires, Kane said, she normally processes paperwork to sever their benefits, which would take place at month’s end. That wasn’t the case with Bozanich. 

“I was told he was not leaving and to not cancel his benefits,” she said. 

“His benefits never stopped,” she later testified. 

The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System requires a two-month waiting period for when a retired employee can be rehired, but Bozanich returned the first working day following his retirement. He also ordinarily would not have been eligible for city employment benefits until Feb. 1. City Hall documents introduced showed his longevity date as Jan. 14, 1980.   

The hearing is scheduled to resume Feb. 12. Rudy, former B&B president Phillip M. Beshara and former MS Consultants chief financial officer Ray Briya are expected to take the stand. Feb. 19 also has been reserved in case the hearing needs to continue into a second day. 

Pictured: Judge Maureen Sweeney confers with prosecution and defense attorneys during Day Four of the pretrial hearing for Dominic Marchionda and Dave Bozanich.

Related coverage:

Jan. 24, 2020: At Hearing, Beshara Admits to $20K Payment to Bozanich
Sept. 10, 2019: Briya Pleads Guilty, Will Repay MS Consultants $200K
Oct. 5, 2018: B&B Amends Fraud Complaint Against Former President
Aug. 30, 2018: Sammarone, Bozanich Indicted in Marchionda Probe
Dec. 29, 2017: Prosecutors Add Details in Marchionda Case

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.