Dann pulls plug on contributor's contract

John O'Brien Oct. 11, 2007, 4:00pm


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann recently terminated the contract his office gave to a Sandusky law firm because one of its partners contributed too much money to Dann's campaign.

A recent law says lawyers who seek state contracts may only donate, through themselves and immediate families, a total of $2,000. Kevin Zeiher, of Dolyk & Zeiher, exceeded that amount by $500, says a report by The Associated Press.

Zeiher was handling a Workers' Compensation case for the state's Department of Natural Resources. His contribution came in Nov. 2006.

Last month, Dann's office hurried to collect affidavits from attorneys seeking state work. Of the 194 submitted, 126 were collected in September -- well after Dann's office gave out contracts.

Dann's office told the AP that even though Zeiher's firm would be eligible for a state contract this year, it will be barred for two years.

Dann's campaign contributors have been a frequent issue with his office.

The State Controlling Board allowed Dann to renew a contract with Akron firm Roetzel and Andress, which will receive $1 million for work it performs for the state-supported University of Akron.

Petro hired the firm in March 2006 because he was unhappy with five other firms who were performing the work. Some of the attorneys claimed they lost the work because they did not contribute to Petro's 2002 campaign.

Roetzel and Andress contributed $3,450 to Dann in 2006.

Dann also has received more than $47,000 from gambling interests since he took office in January, during which time he has actively attempted to regulate the state's gaming industry.

Also, he terminated a contract with a firm that contributed more money to his 2006 opponent, Betty Montgomery, than it did him. He replaced the firm with New York's Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz. William Titelman, the attorney who will now handle the case against Fannie Mae has a long history of donating to Democratic causes, though he was not a contributor to Dann's campaign.

Titelman's son Ethan, vice president of a communications firm, donated $10,000 to Dann and $15,000 more to the state's Democratic party.

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