COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) — Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland wasn’t messing around when he led the call for the man who was Ohio’s Attorney General for only 17 months to step down.
The governor’s efforts to oust Marc Dann, who eventually resigned in disgrace on May 14, were detailed in documents recently obtained by The Columbus Dispatch.
According to Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey, “Governor Strickland took a strong stance nearly immediately after the report was issued May 2. On May 4, the Governor and other Ohio Democratic leaders called for the impeachment of Dann if he did not resign.”
The report Dailey referred to was issued by Ben Espy, who, at the time, was Dann’s Executive Assistant Attorney General. In late April, Dann had appointed Espy to lead an internal investigation into several charges leveled against Dann and other superiors in his office.
When made public May 2, the report revealed that for many, the work environment in Dann’s office was hostile, female employees had been sexually harassed and superiors who were notified of those allegations did nothing to stop or investigate them.
“The intent was to outline a very well-reasoned and strong case for impeachment,” said Dailey.
Following the release of the Espy report, Strickland ordered his legal staff, led by chief legal counsel Kent Markus, to collaborate with Ohio House Democrats to organize reasons to impeach Dann. Their efforts were summarized in a Power Point presentation described by Dailey as a “collection of discussions” between Ohio Rep. Jennifer Garrison, Ohio Rep. Mark Okey, Ohio Rep. Dan Dodd, Ohio Minority Leader, Rep. Joyce Beatty and the governor’s legal staff. Garrison, Okey and Dodd are all attorneys.
On May 28, the governor appointed fellow Democrat Nancy Hardin Rogers, who left her post as dean of the Michael E. Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, to the AG’s post until the fall elections. At that time, Ohio voters will elect a new AG to fill the remaining two years on Dann’s term.
On June 21, Ohio Democrats unanimously endorsed Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray as their AG candidate. If he loses, Cordray would remain Ohio Treasurer. Ohio Republicans have yet to name an AG candidate but have until Aug. 20 to do so.
And what was Dann’s reaction when he learned of the comprehensive and collaborative efforts to ensure he left office, either on his own or via impeachment proceedings?
“He wasn’t told of it,” said Dailey.