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Woman in Dann case now lectures

Published: Wed, April 1, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.


Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann


Cindy Stankoski


Anthony Gutierrez

COLUMBUS (AP) — One of the women central to a sexual harassment scandal that brought down former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has parlayed her experience into a speaking career.

Cindy Stankoski, who won a $247,500 settlement from the state in February for her treatment by a Dann aide, is now charging between $1,500 and $5,000 for her lecturing services, according to her Web site.

She offers to speak about such topics as abuse, conflict resolution, sexuality and sexual health, empowerment, human resources, women in business and society, ethics, integrity, careers and listening skills.

As part of the state settlement, Stankoski agreed to give up her job with the state. She had worked as a telecommunications assistant at Dann’s office, in a department led by Dann’s friend and sometime roommate, Anthony Gutierrez.

Stankoski and co-worker Vanessa Stout accused Gutierrez of engaging in vulgar and explicit sexual talk during social outings, leering at women in the office and intimidating them with stories of his alleged connections to the Mafia.

On her speaker Web site, Stankoski touts being named 2008 Person of the Year by Columbus Monthly magazine “for exposing the culture of corruption in the Ohio Attorney General’s office.” The magazine gave the honor to both Stankoski and Stout and pictured them on its January cover.

State Inspector General Tom Charles found Gutierrez had violated an office policy against sexual harassment in the Stankoski case, but he never weighed in on the validity of the harassment allegations themselves. Columbus police determined there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.

In a January letter of complaint sent to a state legislative panel poised to approve Stankoski’s settlement payment, Columbus attorney Joe Sommer characterized the amount as “ridiculous and outrageous.”

Sommer, a state workers’ compensation lawyer, noted details of Charles’ investigation that suggested Stankoski dressed provocatively and acted unprofessionally.

One such finding involved Stankoski posing for risque photos on a co-worker’s cell phone while she “flirtatiously sported Gutierrez’s Attorney General-issued badge at her bosom,” according to the report.

“In my almost 27 years in state government, I have never heard of a state employee possessing his or her boss’s ID. Stankoski not only had it but seemed to be showing it off like a trophy to coworkers,” Sommer wrote.

Under the Web site heading “What I do best,” Stankoski writes, “Addressing individuals and organizations about how women can avoid situations where they can be sexually harassed or abused and promote my assistance to women that find themselves in abusive situations.”

She told investigators she was afraid of Gutierrez and sometimes got into compromising situations as a result.

Stankoski’s site also says she has founded a nonprofit called C.S.M.A.S.H. — or Cindy Stankoski’s Message Against Sexual Harassment.

A message left seeking comment at the number listed on the nonprofit’s Web site was not immediately returned.

Dann, a Democrat, was forced out in May in a push led by Gov. Ted Strickland. Richard Cordray, Dann’s successor, settled the harassment case after taking office in January.


1diony7(14 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

USA today got a quote from Stankoski...

"Through speeches and the nonprofit she founded -- Cindy Stankoski's Message Against Sexual Harassment, or C.S.M.A.S.H. -- Stankoski said she wants to encourage other people in similar situations to follow their intuition and speak up.

"During my experience, I found that there were very few resources to assist women in similar situations like mine," she said. "I hope to empower women and men by letting them know that their common sense should always prevail."


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2redvert(2240 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Well, at least she is not using the trumatic experience for personal gain....

Reminds me of the broads that get a boob job and then are offended when some guy looks to see if she got her money's worth!

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3diony7(14 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

"Broads?", who are you redvert, Archie Bunker?
Who turned on the computer for you?
Um, we live in the new millennium.

YOU remind ME of white trash, blue collar, toothless hillbilly, with your kids runnin' around barefoot in overalls 3 sizes to small.

There is no "career" involved....it is a Not-for-profit CHARITY. She will be lucky if she makes a DIME and I read she has spent considerable amount of money (and time) to set up the website and charity, to "give back" to the professional community.

Sounds like you need to sit in one one of her lectures, I will even pay the $1,500 for you.

No wonder all the jobs left Ohio...with pigs like you working here and no wonder we have politicians raping Ohio of jobs and opportunity with people like you voting.

Uneducated, uninformed, low brow, neanderthal, knuckle scraper, chauvinist, step away from the computer before you hurt yourself trying to think of having an opinion. (I bet you are from Youngstown)

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4redvert(2240 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Man we got some naive puppies around here or is the Midol just not working anymore? $1500 to $5000 fee! Why not charge $100 so more women can afford to attend. Maybe the fee includes a photo copy of her bosses ID propped between her boobs.

As for your last comment diony7, please change the last comment to read "male chauvinist pig!" I think I have earned full recognition.

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5diony7(14 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Cindy was just interviewed on Akron radio where she reiterated he comments on an Ohio blog re: Joe Sommer's comments about wearing Gutierrez ID badge,

"Which leads me to recent stories in the media that i posed in photos with my supervisors ID badge, It was not an ID badge. My supervisor issued himself a POLICE STYLE METAL BADGE…. (Like the police wear) and had lights and sirens installed on his car. He portrayed himself AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY. And when he wanted to intimidated you he would remove his “police” badge from his belt and place it on your desk, it was kind of an intimidation thing.

He slapped his fake badge on my desk one day and walked away…I picked up the badge and placed it on my shirt, kind of in defiance, showing that ANYONE can wear a fake badge and a co-worker snapped a picture.

In retrospect I would not have done that. But it was not his ID badge."

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6henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Would any of this come out in the open if these women had just "put-out" for these guys? The taxpayers are getting hosed, I would rather have had these "broads" get hosed than all of us. Come on girls, take one for the team from now on!

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7Skeptic(17 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Good for Cindy Stankoski - don't let them keep you down girl; if your message saves even one young woman from having to go through what you went through, you've done a great thing. Keep your chin up and don't listen to fools such as some of the people that have posted their remarks here. I for one wish you all the best in your life and I'm glad that you are doing something positive from your very negative and difficult experience.

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8Skeptic(17 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

TheLostPatrol...do us all a favor and get really lost.

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9AtownParent(565 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Wouldn't pay a dime to hear this woman speak. You can't party with the wolf and then cry that the wolf has crossed the line the next day. They all crossed the line (or at least blurred them badly) in that office. Two should not be held in some kind of high honor like they brought down the office. They were all at fault in that situation.

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10gistol(72 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

I totally agree with ATOWNPARENT. These 2 women made a decision to party with their bosses and then went and cried wolf. They had a motive from day 1 and profited from it and are still making cash. Their stories were absurd and I am still disgusted that my tax dollars went to pay them to party. Sorry, but if your boss asks you to drink with them and spend the night, you could have said no. Anybody would be stupid to pay these liars a dime to hear them speak. Dann & crew were wrong, but these 2 had a plan... sleep with the boss and get set for life by suing the state. Unbelievable.

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11Stan(9923 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, lets face it ! Cindy has made lemonade from the lemons of the "Marc Dann Era".

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12Ken(153 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

I would be interested in how many lectures she books in a year. My guess...under six.

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