Former Dann aide linked to car buying scandal

Legal News Line Jul. 30, 2008, 9:20am


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Anthony Gutierrez was fired May 2 as the director of General Services for then-Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann for many reasons, including allegations of sexual harassment, but he continues to make headlines. His former boss was forced to resign May 14 amid allegations of misconduct in office. He also admitted to an extramarital affair with a staffer. He, too, continues to make ink. The latest scandal featuring Dann and Gutierrez involves an apparent shopping spree Gutierrez went on last summer. His shopping weakness? Cars. And lots of them. According to a spokesman for Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor, Gutierrez bought 94 new vehicles, spending over $1.8 million, in a span of three months last summer. State records show that most of the vehicles, which ranged in cost from $15,500 to $24,5000, were bought using an open-ended account funded primarily by monies the AG's office collected from debts owed the state. However, in at least two instances, Gutierrez allegedly tapped into a fund intended to help cover the expenses of crime victims. That account is funded primarily from court costs and prisoner work programs. It is supposed to be used to pay lost salaries and other expenses of victims of assaults and other violent crimes. The former attorney general continues to be investigated by the Ohio Inspector General's office, Taylor's office, the Ohio Ethics Commission and by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Dann has not responded to repeated e-mails seeking comment.

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