Former Strickland Administration Official Faces Indictment, Blamed for Mahoning Co. Financial Nightmare
John Reardon is the guy who Gov. Ted Strickland thought was most qualified to be superintendent of financial institutions at the Ohio Department of Commerce, where Ohio’s banks, mortgages brokers and related consumer finance companies are regulated.
When appointed, Strickland praised Reardon:
“John will see that regulations are fair to both consumers and Ohio’s small and large financial institutions,” Strickland said. He will work hard to see that our families and our economy continue to benefit from Ohio’s great financial institutions.”
And now, he could be in serious legal trouble:
Two current Mahoning County officials and one former county official, who opposed the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place four years ago, say the accumulated costs of buying, operating and maintaining the former hospital since then have substantiated their objections.
The county can ill afford those costs at a time of financial crisis, they said.
At a Tuesday news conference at the Covelli Centre, Commissioner John A. McNally IV, Auditor Michael V. Sciortino and former county Treasurer John B. Reardon also emphatically denied any wrongdoing with regard to their opposition.
To date, the county has spent $9,961,541 on Oakhill and collected $4,393,051 in rent from its occupants for a net expenditure to date of $5,568,490, according to figures from the county auditor’s office.
The expenses include utilities, maintenance and repairs, debt payments and architectural and legal fees.
An additional $5,809,671 in costs looms for real-estate taxes incurred before the county bought the building, an Ohio Department of Development loan, interest on capital bonds and remaining renovations, the auditor’s figures show.[..]
In 2006, Reardon recalled he said a new $15 million county-owned-and-operated office building would have been much cheaper than acquiring, maintaining and renovating Oakhill.
Sciortino said the Oakhill purchase is the county’s equivalent of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“We are in our disaster right now. We are in a complete financial meltdown,” he said.[...]
McNally, Sciortino and Reardon said they have not been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, and they are declining the special prosecutors’ invitation to testify before the panel.
Sciortino said he won’t accept the invitation because he believes “the invitation itself was not fair and was disingenuous at best.”
Reardon, Sciortino and McNally said the Oakhill special prosecutors — Paul M. Nick and Dennis P. Will — have not made any plea-bargain offers to them under which they could plead guilty to an information rather than face a possible indictment. The filing of an information usually means the defendant won’t contest the charges.
Why all the fuss? Because it appears Reardon’s intention was to help the financial interests of Senator Capri Cafaro’s mafioso family’s financial interests. Read more here.
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