Former AG Dann pursues class actions as private attorney

By Chris Rizo | May 11, 2009

Marc Dann (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann says since he left office in disgrace a year ago, he has developed a "niche" law practice, representing labor unions and consumers in class action lawsuits.

Dann resigned last May, after admitting to having an affair with a staffer and amid complaints he fostered an unprofessional working environment at the attorney general's office. Since leaving office, he has opened a law practice in Cleveland.

"I've developed a little bit of a niche practice in representing people who (have) identified federal government fraud," Dann said in a lengthy interview with the Youngstown (Ohio) Vindicator published Sunday.

Suing under the federal False Claims Act on behalf of whistleblowers allows his clients to get a portion of the proceeds.

"A lot of the people that reach out to me, ironically that couldn't reach me when I was attorney general to report fraud in government, state and federal, reached out to me after I left office," Dann said. "A number of those people have become my clients."

The Democrat also said he believes he could have resisted efforts to impeach him, but instead decided to leave office, partly because such a fight would have taken away from his effort to mend relationships with his wife and family.

"The work that the AG does, day in and day out, no matter who's name is on the door is too important to allow it to be impeded by somebody's personal problems or the loss of political support," he told the newspaper.

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.

Dann also told the newspaper he has sought counseling since being forced from office before his first term ended.

"I feel like I've got a good grip on what's real about what I did wrong and not to allow myself because it's very easy when you're in politics, to allow yourself to be defined by what's in the newspaper or on TV," Dann said.

Dann, a former state senator elected attorney general in 2006, at the time he admitted to having an affair said he was surprised that he was elected the as the state's chief legal officer and conceded that he "was not as well prepared for the office as I should have been."

"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," a 57-page report on Dann's office said.

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

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