Former Ohio AG sentenced over ethics violations

Chris Rizo May 7, 2010, 4:13pm

Marc Dann (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann on Friday pleaded guilty to two criminal counts involving improper payments he made from campaign funds.

Dann was charged for the misuse use of a campaign account and a transition account that raised money between the November 2006 general election and his swearing-in as attorney general that January.

He pleaded guilty to failing to disclose outside income on state required financial disclosure forms, and for helping two of his aides pay their living expenses with money from his campaign account.

After a deal was made with prosecutors, a lawyer for the former Democratic attorney general entered an Alford plea on Dann's behalf on the violation involving his aides.

The move formally acknowledged evidence exists to prove his client's guilt but denied on Dann's behalf that a crime was committed.

Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Ted Barrows fined Dann $1,000 and sentenced to perform 500 hours of community service. He will be on probation through June 2012.

While still in his first term as the state's top lawman, Dann resigned in May 2008 amid a sexual harassment scandal and after admitting to an extra-marital affair with a staffer.

A report by state Inspector General Thomas Charles said Dann's office widely tolerated sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Dann put his friends in key positions, which helped turn the AG's office into a "house of scandal," the 71-page report said.

Late last month, Dann's estranged wife, Alyssa Lenhoff, pleaded guilty to having an unlawful interest in a public contract, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Her case centered on the $6,500 grant she won from Dann's office to teach a course in the Youngstown State University journalism program she directs.

Under a plea deal entered in Franklin County Municipal Court, she was fined $1,000 plus court costs. She also received a suspended sentence of 10 days in jail.

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