Report: Dann misspent state and campaign money

By Chris Rizo | Dec 22, 2008

Marc Dann (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Former Attorney General Marc Dann misused his office and campaign money before he resigned in disgrace, Ohio Inspector General Thomas Charles said in a report Monday.

Charles, the state's independent watchdog, said he found at least two dozen acts of wrongdoing by Dann, a Democrat, during his 17 months in office.

Dann created a corporation that solicited more than $195,000 in unreported donations. The report said all but about $8,000 was spent, including $12,000 that went to his wife's business, Zesty Dishes.

"Regrettably, Marc Dan used his position as attorney general to indulge himself, his family and his friends. By tapping these easily available contributions, which were given to him by more-than-willing interested outside parties, he supplemented his statutory wage from the state of Ohio and used the money to pay personal expenses that had no relation to his office or his campaign."

The report also found that Dann's office tolerated the sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Dann put friends and cronies into key positions in the attorney general's office, which helped turn the office into a "house of scandal," the 71-page report said.

"The rude, vulgar and abusive conduct of senior management, including the attorney general himself, created a hostile work environment that is an embarrassment to state government," the report said.

"Sexual harassment was tolerated and friends and associates of the attorney general were hired into positions for which they were not qualified."

The report noted that Dann hired a group of women nicknamed the "Dannettes," who were so unprofessional in their dress and behavior that they were given etiquette training.

Dann resigned May 14 amid a sexual harassment scandal and after admitting to an extra-marital affair with a staffer.

Since resigning office, Dann has worked for his wife's dishware company and set up a law practice in Cleveland. He has denied allegations of wrongdoing.

The report comes ahead of a meeting of the Ohio Elections Commission, which plans to investigate claims that Dann used thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal purposes, including family vacations and a $40,000 home security system.

Following Dann's resignation, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland appointed Nancy Rogers to fill the post until January. State Treasurer Richard Cordray, a Democrat, won the Nov. 4 election for attorney general.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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