Dann asked for it

Dann asked for it

To hear former Atty. Gen. Marc Dann tell the story, he is the victim of an overeager state inspector general who was pursuing a vendetta against him rooted — and here’s the irony — in Dann’s criticism of the inspector general for not being aggressive enough in an earlier investigation of corruption in Columbus.

It’s going to be years before either Dann or Inspector General Thomas P. Charles gets to say I told you so. It will take that long before the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, the Columbus City Attorney’s office, the Internal Revenue Service, the Ohio Department of Taxation, the Ohio Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Counsel, the Ohio Elections Commission and the Ohio Ethics Commission are done sorting through Charles’ investigative report, which was released Monday and forwarded to those offices.

Before that happens, the $50,000 Dann funneled from his campaign account to pay Atty. Michael Harshman for legal advice before Dann resigned last spring will look like chump change.

So far, the person who comes off worst in the state reports and the one who appears to have the largest legal liability is Dann’s former friend, Anthony Gutierrez, who Dann hired as director of general services when he took office.


Dann now characterizes Gutierrez as little more than an employee who, once he was hired, was off Dann’s radar screen. And yet, they were roommates in a Columbus apartment that was paid for at least part of the time by Dann’s campaign fund. And when it came time to replace the windows in Dann’s Liberty home — perhaps, or perhaps not, as a necessary part of providing security for the attorney general and his family — it was Gutierrez who ordered the windows.

Some things will never be known about Dann‘s conduct in office and the boys-gone-wild image the inspector general’s report paints. But this much is known:

Dann ran for office and was elected as a reformer. He was obliged to conduct himself in a manner that was above reproach. He failed miserably.

He hired cronies of dubious repute and he either didn’t monitor their conduct or looked the other way when they misbehaved. His own conduct set a standard that encouraged misconduct.

He should not be the least surprised that he is now being held to a standard he aspired to set for others. Falling back on a claim that Tom Charles never liked him is pathetic.

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