Published December 28, 2008
Anthony Gutierrez and his wife, Lisa, and Marc Dann and his wife, Alyssa Lenhoff, were friends and neighbors in Liberty Township before the "Dann scandal" erupted and Gutierrez believed that he was thrown under the bus by the disgraced former Ohio attorney general.
Now, Gutierrez, who was director of General Services in the AG's office during Dann's 17-month tenure, is facing some serious charges that could be summed up thus: He used his public position for personal gain. It would come as no surprise if he's trying to make a deal with prosecutors. He's not going to take the fall for this sordid affair.
So, if he does end up cooperating with investigators, what information could he provide that would enable them to build a case against others, including Dann?
There's plenty, given that Gutierrez not only was a member of Dann's inner circle, but also shared a condo in Columbus with the then attorney general and his communications director, Leo Jennings III, also a Mahoning Valley product.
The Dann scandal surfaced when two women in the office alleged that they had been sexually harassed by Gutierrez. They filed formal complaints against him with the individual responsible for invesigating such matters.
The details of those complaints were made public by the Columbus Dispatch a couple of days later, but the newspaper did not get its information from the attorney general's office because the complaints filed by Cindy Stankowski and Vanessa Stout against Gutierrez were confidential.
However, given the friendship that existed at the time between Dann and Gutierrez and their wives, the question must be asked: What did Gutierrez know about the sexual harassment complaints and when did he know it?
The question goes to the heart of what was taking place in the attorney general's office before the friends turned on each other.
What Gutierrez has to say to investigators and prosecutors, if he enters into a plea agreement, will be evaulated for its truthfulness. But, he certainly could tell quite a juicy tale of what went on in Columbus — not only in the office, but in the condo.