July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Executive pleads guilty to illegal donations to Rep. Jim Renacci

CLEVELAND — An executive accused of funneling illegal contributions to the election campaigns of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in 2011 pleaded guilty to federal campaign charges Monday.

Jim Renacci

Jim Renacci

Michael Giorgio, the chief financial officer for Suarez Corp. Industries in North Canton, pleaded guilty to charges that involve conspiracy to commit campaign fraud, making contributions in someone else’s name, making contributions on behalf of a corporation, witness tampering and making a false statement.

As part of a plea agreement, Giorgio, of Cuyahoga Falls, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. His attorney, Ralph Cascarilla, declined to comment.

Giorgio and company founder Ben Suarez were accused of funneling about $100,000 each to the 2012 successful re-election campaign of Renacci and to Mandel’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign.

The two Republican candidates returned the contributions after learning of allegations that Giorgio and Suarez had bundled contributions in the names of employees and their spouses.