Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann says he is “heartbroken by my failure” to recognize and stop problems in his office, in the wake of completion of a probe of sexual harassment complaints and other staff problems in his office.
He then acknowledged having a romantic relationship with a subordinate and apologized to his wife and children.
“I have not conducted my self in a way that is consistent with my values ...,” he said.
Four people are now gone from the office: Communications Director Leo Jennings III and Director of general Services Anthony Gutierrez, who were fired; and Chief of Policy and Administration Edgar Simpson and Jessica Utovich, Dann’s former scheduler and the office’s travel director, who both resigned Thursday.
Dann said he accepted these decisions.
“I hired them with great hopes,” Dann said. “Unfortunately they let me down.”
Ben Espy, the executive assistant AG, cited a hostile work environment created by Gutierrez, an office rampant with rumor and inappropriate fraternization, and “poor judgment” on Dann’s behalf.
Espy, who led the probe, said he did not have the authority to recommend suspending or reprimanding Dann for his behavior, but recommended the attorney general receive additional training related to proper office procedure.
But Thomas Winters, first assistant AG, said a federal Equal Employment Opportunity investigation into this case “can do more than we can. This agency can’t discipline its principle.”
As for whether Dann, who is married, had an affair with Utovich: Both declined to answer that question, Espy said. Espy added, “The refusal is an answer itself.”
Utovich acknowledged delivering schedules to Dann’s Dublin condo, and the investigation concluded that she had stayed overnight on more than one occasion. “I don’t think you deliver a schedule overnight,” Espy noted.
Dann admitted he did get involved in a romantic relationship that caused his family immense hurt and embarrassment.