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How a newspaper sprung the Dann fiasco & what Ohio newspapers say today

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published May 3, 2008

Youngstowner Harry Meshel is quoted in our newspaper today saying that whether Marc Dann can keep his job will come down to media and public demands.

The public demands will shake out over the next few days. The media demands are starting already. The Vindy will highlight the editorials in Sunday's paper.

Setting that up, here's a look at the leads of the Saturday news stories from around the state.

At the end are the leads from the Columbus Dispatch's Alan Johnson and James Nash. They were the two reporters who broke the first story. I remember that April 6 story because it made many of us cringe. It was loaded with accuser complaints, not investigated facts. And it had other things that, at the time, looked like huge leaps (pajamas, unbuttoned jeans, etc). They're good journalists, as is their boss, Ben Marrison. But from afar, it looked risky.

Rather than take the Dispatch's version Sunday night and use it in Monday's paper, we opted to wait until Monday to work our own version for Tuesday's paper, and see what shook out newswise that Monday.

We even looked to The Associated Press that Sunday night to see if they were going to work the story and make something ready for Monday's paper. They, too, opted to stay away from it for 24 hours. 

The shakeout did indeed start that Monday. It continued through Friday's crash, and will likely linger on. All of it gets credited to the Dispatch guys for making it happen.

It also broke rather quickly for them. Dann told The Vindy Friday night that the accusers' initial complaint was leaked to the Dispatch office in downtown Columbus about an hour after it was filed -- lightning quick in the world of public records access.

If that's accurate, it's testament as to how far down Dann's leadership team had sunk in value and respect within his own office. AG staff wanted this to get out.

Here are the leads of today's stories: 


    Attorney General Marc Dann harkened to cowboy wisdom yesterday to suggest that he will survive the sex scandal that threatens his political career.
    “As John Wayne once said, ‘Life is getting up one more time than you've been knocked down.'”
    Wayne also once said: “Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.”

___ 

By Reginald Fields
Plain Dealer Bureau
    Columbus — Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann vows to stay in office and repair the damage caused by his affair with a staffer and a sexual-harassment investigation that concluded dramatically Friday with four people losing their jobs.

    Dann, 46, a brash upstart when he won election in a near-sweep of statewide offices by Democrats in November 2006, finds himself barely holding his job just 16 months into a four-year term. His Democratic colleagues are keeping their distance, and Republicans are demanding he quit.

 ___

By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
    YOUNGSTOWN — Despite acknowledging an affair with his former scheduler, Attorney General Marc Dann insists he won’t resign.
    “I’m a better attorney general now than I was 16 months ago,” he said. “I was elected by the people of Ohio. We are doing great work.”
    Dann fired Anthony Gutierrez as director of general services and Leo Jennings III as communications director after the Friday release of a report that detailed numerous accounts of sexual harassment of two of his female subordinates as well as violations of the office’s policy on state vehicles.

___ 

By JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
    COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, who was catapulted into office because of a Republican ethics scandal, yesterday vowed to remain in office after he admitted to having an extramarital affair with an employee.

    The admission occurred just after he fired two top aides and accepted the forced resignation of a third in a sexual harassment scandal. The situation inevitably brought his own conduct into question.
    "I have not conducted myself in a way that has been consistent with my values as a husband, a father, and my responsibilities as attorney general of Ohio,’’ the Democratic elected official told reporters. "In a difficult time in my marriage, I got involved in a romantic relationship with a member of my staff. That conduct was intrinsically wrong.’’

___ 

By Dennis J. Willard
Akron
Beacon Journal
    COLUMBUS: Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann admitted Friday to having an affair with an employee, but the embattled Democrat said he would not step down from office.
    At the same time, he fired Anthony Gutierrez, director of general services and Leo Jennings III, his communications director.
    Both men were on unpaid administrative leave pending an internal investigation released Friday into sexual harassment charges by two employees against Gutierrez, who shared a condo with Dann and Jennings.
    Two more employees, Ed Simpson, chief of policy and administration, and Jessica Utovich, Dann's former scheduler, resigned.

___ 

By Jon Craig
jcraig@enquirer.com

    COLUMBUS A simmering scandal boiled over Friday, as Ohio’s Attorney General admitted to an affair – and a report exposed sexual harassment and cronyism in his office.
    By day’s end, four members of Attorney General Marc Dann’s staff had resigned or been fired. Republicans demanded his resignation and Democrats condemned him. Gov. Ted Strickland, a fellow Democrat elected with Dann in 2006, said he was “extremely disappointed and concerned.”
    But Marc Dann, Ohio’s $xx,000-a year top law enforcement official, refused to resign.
    Dann, 46, admitted at a dramatic morning news conference to having an affair with a state employee he wouldn’t name.

___ 


    Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann admitted yesterday that he had an affair with a young female staff member and set the tone for a hostile work environment that resulted in sexual harassment.
    The ensuing scandal first reported by The Dispatch last month cost four people their jobs, including two of Dann's closest friends from Youngstown.
    Shaken but still defiant, Dann, a Democrat elected in 2006, said he would not resign — and said he never considered doing so — despite the expanding fallout from a sex scandal that has rocked his office for the past month.
    “To (my wife) Alyssa and my children, to the employees of the attorney general, I apologize for my human failings,” Dann said during a tense, hourlong news conference yesterday.

____ 

 

    The women whose complaints triggered the sexual-harassment investigation that brought down three top officials in Attorney General Marc Dann's office are relieved that it's over.
    They told The Dispatch that they feel vindicated but are by no means satisfied with the results.
    “I do not think it's fair, and I don't think all the truth is out yet,” said Cindy Stankoski who, along with Vanessa Stout, filed sexual-harassment complaints on March 31 against their boss, Anthony Gutierrez.
    “Marc Dann says he didn't know what Tony was doing,” Stankoski said. “He's his roommate, his best friend, and his neighbor in Youngstown, and he doesn't know what he was doing? I know he's lying.”
    “He lied,” Stout added. “Marc Dann was every bit as involved in this as Leo (Jennings III, communications director), Tony, and Ed (Simpson, chief of staff).”
    Jennings and Gutierrez were fired; Simpson resigned rather than be fired.

 

 


Comments

1belle(6 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Of Course, Marc Dann should resign. He made the statement that the individuals he hired (all the while knowing their credentials or lack thereof) let him down. What does he think he did to the people of the Mahoning Valley and the State of Ohio? The question is, when did his affair start and just how did it coincide with the behavior of the other people involved? Resign, now!!!

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