By Marc Kovac
and David Skolnick
In what is likely the last legal effort in the four-plus-year saga of ex-Attorney General Marc Dann, the Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal for using $40,610 in campaign funds for a security system and other improvements at his former Liberty home.
The decision Wednesday means the $1,000 fine and public reprimand from the Ohio Elections Commission remains in place. Justices provided no explanation for their decision, as is the case when they opt not to accept appeals for review.
Dann, a Democrat, couldn’t be reached Wednesday by The Vindicator to comment on the court’s decision.
The commission ruled in March 2009 that Dann violated elections law by using campaign money for a closed- circuit, video-monitored security system, new windows, door and other improvements at the home.
Dann and his wife, Alyssa Lenhoff, divorced after the scandal. His wife still owns the home where the security system was installed, according to Trumbull County Auditor’s office records.
Dann’s campaign also was fined $1,000, and Mary Beth Snyder, his former campaign treasurer, was fined $250.
A Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge and the 10th District Court of Appeals both rejected appeals last year from Dann to the commission’s decision.
Dann resigned as attorney general in May 2008, only 16 months into his term, after two women working in the office made sexual harassment allegations against one of his handpicked managers. Dann later admitted having an affair with a third woman from the office.
The situation and subsequent investigation led to the firing of that manager, another top aide and the forced resignation of his chief of staff. All three later were convicted on criminal charges.
In a plea deal, Dann was found guilty of two misdemeanor ethics counts in May 2010, fined another $1,000, and barred from serving in public office for seven years.
One conviction was for filing a false disclosure form, the other for providing improper compensation to two of his employees from campaign and transition accounts. Money was used for an apartment Dann and two top aides shared in the Columbus area and other expenses.
The Ohio Supreme Court suspended Dann’s law license starting Nov. 20, 2012, for six months, citing his “prior discipline and his position as the state’s attorney general at the time he committed his current misconduct.”
Dann declined to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.