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Youngstown, Ohio mayor pleads not guilty to corruption charges

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to political corruption charges involving a property deal made while he was a county commissioner in the area.

Mayor John McNally was released on a $15,000 bond after a hearing in Cuyahoga County court in Cleveland. McNally, a Democrat, had been a commissioner in Mahoning County, which includes Youngstown, from 2005 until becoming mayor in January.

Earlier in May, McNally, Mahoning County auditor Michael Sciortino and Youngstown attorney Martin Yavorcik were charged in an 83-count indictment alleging a pattern of corruption, including bribery, record tampering and money laundering.

Sciortino and Yavorcik were released on identical bonds on Thursday in the case brought by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor and the Ohio Attorney General. The indictment alleges that some of the activity occurred in Cuyahoga County.

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

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.

Sciortino is accused of tampering with records to inflate the cost of moving the offices. The indictment alleges Yavorcik accepted political contributions as a candidate for prosecutor in exchange for a promise to stop investigations into wrongdoing by county officials.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Gunna Dickson)

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