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« Stirfry

Attorney general dann and his cronies

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Published September 17, 2007

When he was campaigning for Ohio attorney general last year, Marc Dann of Liberty Township assured the residents of the Mahoning Valley that he would bring jobs to the region if he were elected the state's chief lawyer.

As the attorney general, Dann has kept that campaign promise not only by bringing more than 70 jobs to downtown Youngstown, but by appointing Valley residents to serve in top staff positions.

In so doing, however, Dann is opening himself up to the charge that he is taking care of his cronies and given that he already is under the microscope because of the Rick Alli controversy, his latest appointment will undoubtedly raise eyebrows.

As the front page story in Saturday's Vindicator revealed, Dann has given a job to Poland Mayor Ruth Wilkes, who is engaged to Boardman Atty. Mike Harshman. Harshman is a friend, confidante and adviser of Dann's. He played a key role in the Democrat's fund-raising last year.

Indeed, Harshman and Wilkes hosted a party for Dann at their home in Liberty Township which prompted this writer to question in a blog whether the mayor of Poland is permitted to live outside the village. Wilkes has said she intends to resign as mayor on June 25.

While the attorney general has been receiving high marks for some of the initiatives he has launched and for taking on some tough issues, the flap over Alli and whispers that one other staffer is being looked at by reporters in Columbus threaten to undermine Dann's record.

Mayor Wilkes' appointment as grants management director will become another distraction.


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