‘Our work not complete,’ Ohio auditor says after Infante sentencing

The Youngstown Vindicator | Ed Runyan

The Ralph Infante corruption case has concluded, but Auditor of State Dave Yost, whose agency carried out most of the investigation, says, “Our work is not complete in the Mahoning Valley.”

He made that comment when his office was asked last week about an insider remark that the Infante investigators were “sticking around.”

Yost’s communications director, Benjamin Marrison, said he could not elaborate on whether Yost was referring to a new investigation in Trumbull or Mahoning counties, completion of loose ends in the Infante case or something else.

One “loose end” is the four gambling charges and one of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity filed against ITAM No. 39, the McKinley Heights bar Infante and his wife, Judy, ran until several years ago.

Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove set aside the ITAM counts part way through the trial because the Infantes sold the club. An Ohio Attorney General’s Office spokesman said he could not comment on what will happen with those charges.

Pending in Mahoning County is the 101-count indictment of developer Dominic Marchionda on charges ranging from engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity to money laundering and aggravated theft related to Marchionda and his affiliated businesses. Yost said more indictments are expected in the case.

Meanwhile, a lengthy interview last week with Yost about the Infante case produced this anecdote:

When Chris Rudy, an auditor’s investigator, arrived in Niles to begin the Infante investigation, law-enforcement officials who greeted him said: “Ohio laws don’t apply here. This place runs under the Code of Infante.”

Infante had been Niles mayor 23 years at the time, but he would lose the Democratic primary in May 2015 and was convicted of 22 criminal charges earlier this month, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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