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Dann’s apology churns the stomach

Published: Sun, May 17, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

By Bertram de Souza

Yes, a year does make a difference. Last Tuesday, the disgraced former attorney general of Ohio, Marc Dann, who was born and raised in Cuyahoga County, was leaving The Vindicator building when he crossed paths with this writer.

“I thought you brought me flowers,” Dann said, looking at the bright yellow umbrella dotted with images of cute cats and dogs,

The response?

“Hello, Marc.” And a handshake.

A year ago, as he was slithering out of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the quip from this writer would have been, “No, I sent the flowers to your political funeral.”

What has happened in the 365 days since Marc Dann resigned from one of the most important positions in state government?

It could be that age has dulled this writer’s journalistic blade. Or, it may well be that like other Mahoning Valley officeholders who have fallen from grace, Dann has become a nonentity, or in the words of that most famous of all corrupt elected officials, jailbird James A. Traficant Jr., “a mosquito nibbling on an elephant’s ass.” He is now an irritant.

The one-year anniversary of his resignation after just 16 months on the job is a reminder of how he blew a promising political career because of letting all the power go to his head. He had a extramarital affair with an employee — the woman had the heady position of scheduler — and turned a blind eye to the sexual escapades of other members of his inner circle.

Political legend

The reason for his resignation has become the stuff of political legend. It has been analyzed from every angle and by both, his supporters (of whom there are precious few) and his detractors (the number took a huge jump Sunday after an extensive interview with him was published in The Vindicator.)

The self-serving poppycock that he offered as answers to questions posed to him served only to lower the opinion people have of him.

On Sunday, in a coffee shop in Liberty Township, one long-time reader of The Vindicator offered this observation:

“There is only one question he [the reporter] should have asked Dann: ‘How does it feel to be the biggest jackass in Ohio?’”

And reading the apology he wrote — it was published verbatim in last Sunday’s paper — the word jackass does seem appropriate.

First and foremost, the people of Ohio don’t care whether Dann is still a resident of the state, or has relocated to Siberia. As for apologizing to his family, doing it in private is much more appropriate.

You want your wife to forgive you? Buy her a huge diamond. You want your kids to forget what a tool you really are? Give them your credit card and drop them off at the mall.

But it is presumptuous to think that publishing an apology will make for compelling reading. The only ones who really care are journalists looking for holes in the mea culpa.

Here’s one in Dann’s rendition of that old favorite, “I’m Sorry”:

“I deeply regret that the reputation of the community that I love has been tarred by my failures.”

The Mahoning Valley tarred by his failures? No. More like disgusted, because he fooled the voters of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties by presenting himself as a paragon of virtue.

Here’s another:

“I have learned the importance of being humble even when you have reason to be proud.”

Reason to be proud?

Den of inequity

It doesn’t matter how often Dann tells us about all the great accomplishments during the 16-month tenure. The only thing people will remember about the disgraced attorney general is that he and two of his Valley buddies he put on the public payroll, Leo Jennings and Anthony Gutierrez, turned the office into a den of inequity.

“I’ve learned about the difference between fast friends and true friends.”

Don’t know what he has learned, but here’s one difference: Fast friends can become true friends if you pay them enough.

So, if Dann wants more people to join him on Facebook, he should offer them the Fiesta tableware his wife sells.


1lenhoff(5 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

A decent human being accepts an apology and does not denigrate it.or cynically comment on it..

A decent journalist reports facts and doesn't make them up. (You have no way of knowing that Dann's detractors increased after last Sunday's column.Your saying so does not make it so.)

Obviously, you are not a decent human being or even a decent journalist.

Your journalistic blade did not suddenly dull. It was never sharp. What has dulled are your wits.

When David Skolnick called me for a comment for his column, I asked him why was the Vindicator rehasing this.story. David's answer, the Vindicator's answer, was a lame one: To commemorate a one year anniversary. Hogwash! The honest answer would have been, "We haven't picked the bones clean yet."

And while the pickins were slim for your column today you managed to suck on the marrow.and spew your venom. (Slithered from office. . . . disgraced ...... jackass.)

There is one question you and your ilk should ask yourselves. And if you can't answer it, then you should shut-the-hell up:

What crime or impeachable offense did Marc Dann commit or is he being charged with? If you don't have an answer to that question, then it's you who owe Marc Dann an apology. I'm sure he'll accept it, not sneer at you for offering it, and thank you for being a big enough person to make it.

I'm also certain I'll never live to see the day when you admit you were wrong about anything..

Bentley Lenhoff

. .

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

A decent journalist would have uncovered the whole mess before someone from the "inner circle" came forward with the information.

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3JAB(41 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Bentley, why would you stick up for a scum bag who cheated on your daughter, and it wasn't the first time. And you of all people should know that the investigation is continuing. Tony has ten counts against him, Jennings, another scum bag will also be indicted. Dann will follow. Nobody cares about Danns apology. He and his buddies have cost hard working tax payers a hell of alot of money. The three scum bags mentioned above, all should be in prison, period. You need to get off your pedestal because nobody cares about your opinion.

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Marc Dann has been treated most leniently giving the damage that he has caused. Marc, the words are, LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY ! Since you couldn't lead and you don't know who or what to follow I suggest that you keep out of the way.

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5Independent55(13 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Bertram may want people to believe that the reason for Dann's resignation "has been analyzed from every angle." But the fact is that most of the major media in Ohio have been too politically correct to present the side of the story containing very strong evidence that the sexual-harassment complaints were bogus and filed for ulterior motives. The media and state officials foolishly rushed to judgment without examining all the facts. Bertram apparently doesn't want the public to know that. And state officials tried to cover up their foolishness by paying the two women a ridiculously large settlement with taxpayers' dollars. The entire episode provides a very sad lesson in why people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

"sad lesson" ?

Sad for who? Marc Dann? Why should we tolerate his kind of behavior from public officials?

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7Cicero(36 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Apparently neither Marc nor Bertram own a dictionary. Putting aside for the moment Marc's inability to understand the meaning of "integrity," "honesty," and "decency," the term "fast friend" was misused by Marc ( his undergraduate major was apparently not English) and compounded by Bert's following the lead. "Fast," as used in this context, means "firmly attached, cannot be easily moved," ( as in tying a boat fast to its mooring). "Fast friends" refers to friends who are close and loyal, not those who are recent and opportunistic. Marc misuses the phrase in referring to his "new" friends; Bert not only does not challenge the misuse, but compounds the error by repeating it (O.K, so the Vindy is, after all, renown for butchering the English language).
Bert, get a dictionary!

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8ytownboy22(65 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

All of Marc's wounds were self inflicted. The office did go to his head, "I can hire anyone I want to, even if they are scum." Marc forgot what he himself had said about the repubs and Taft on his way to the top, "Incompetent or Liars." In the end, by hiring bozos, he proved incompetent. I still believe that he should have gone to court to challenge the extraordinary authority conferred upon the inspector general, a nice man with his own agenda items, and fought for his office: LET THE VOTERS DECIDE HIS FATE. In the end, Marc panicked and chose to flee, when his chasers would never show him any mercy no matter. I respect Bentley's continued loyalty to Marc Dann. No one is in a position to speak to the private and personal matter but them. Many families stand loyal, look at the Clintons/no one is perfect. (How many Notre Damers who railed against Obama this past week have cheated on their wives.famlies? What is sad is that Marc had a set of priorities he was fighting for that would help a vastly larger number of Ohioans. From out of office, he cannot continue that fight. If only he could have kept his own ego in check and been more selective and selfish about his own fortunes in his hiring. But no, he had to bring in the goon squad or a chief of staff with no clue as to where the Statehouse restrooms were located (but who was to be the eyes and ears of the spouse......... not a good reason to hire a chum when your political future hangs in the balance). As for Bertram, he tips his hand in every matter. He is not objective. He is willing to stretch his version of the truth to support his agenda EVERY time. It is a good thing he caught on with the VINDY, otherwise he would be selling insurance or flipping burgers. Either way, Marc brought this on himself. Let us wish him well in the next chapter of his life.

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9steelerman09(111 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh Bentley, you ask "What crime or impeachable offense did Marc Dann commit or is he being charged with?" Time will tell, but I can guaranDANNtee you one thing...if he was innocent, then he wouldn't have stepped down. If he was innocent, he wouldn't have vacated his position. Innocent of cheating on his wife? He admitted that, which was probably the first thing in a line of lies and deceit that will, in the end, be true.

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10gpollich(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Marc Dann's family forgave him - so, why should that be this reporter's business? Give it up! Marc was, in his 16 months, a good AG for the State of Ohio. His problems were bad personal judgements regarding his affair (human frailty - how self-rightous to judge him) and his hiring of his 'friends'. His downfall was his poor management skills - not his ability as AG.

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11Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

"Marc Dann's family forgave him"

So now he has the trust of the public ? WRONG ! The bum should be run off everytime he tries to run again !

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