Sexual harassment claim against former Ohio AG settled

John O'Brien Jan. 21, 2009, 4:53pm


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Nearly $500,000 will go to a pair of women who brought sexual harassment allegations against former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann and members of his staff.

Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout will each receive $247,500 from a recently reached settlement. Their allegations resulted in upheaval in the office, including Dann's May resignation.

He admitted to an affair with Jessica Utovich during his second year in office. He has also been accused of misusing campaign funds.

Dann was threatened with impeachment by fellow Democrats in early May after he admitted to an affair May 1. He did so while releasing a 57-page report substantiating allegations of sexual harassment against Dann aide and friend Anthony Gutierrez.

The report found that, "Management employees encouraged and tolerated a workplace atmosphere of frequent profanity, extremely casual and improper personal interactions with subordinates and a general lack of professionalism and respect."

Gutierrez and the attorney general's communications director, Leo Jennings III, were fired for trying to coax an assistant attorney general to lie to investigators, while Dann's chief of staff, Edgar Simpson, was forced to resign.

Dann had the affair with Utovich, who voluntarily resigned her position as his office's travel coordinator.

The report also found that Dann "exercised poor judgment by engaging in and permitting Cindy Stankoski to come to his home for drinks and pizza."

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