Last November I went down to Columbus to meet some friends at Brazenhead. We ate. Had a few beers. Talked politics and life. Good times. Afterward, a buddy and I decided to hang out a bit more and shot over to Hi Beck for some pool and another beer or two. Again, good times.

This is about the time that rumors were all around Columbus about Marc Dann and his scheduler Jessica Utovich. I was hearing stuff, but not paying too much attention to it all. On our way out we see someone we knew who worked for the Shamansky campaign so we stop to say hey having both known the guy. It turns out he was also Jessica’s roommate at the time and so he asks me to talk to her – presumably to “clear her name”. She obviously had her roommate fooled given what we now know.

So I talk to Jessica for a while and at one point she tells me “you guys gotta tell the other side. you gotta get it out there that nothing is going on”. I listen because I was genuinely sympathetic at the time. I also tried to settle her. She looked nervous and a bit flustered. It ends with me telling her if there is nothing there don’t worry. Have a good night.

Immediately after they walked away (they were leaving too), I look at my buddy and we both shake our heads. The first thing out of his mouth is “wow. she’s a bad liar.” Sure enough. She wasn’t leveling with me. Now, I don’t mean to focus on her. Mainly because from what I’m also hearing she has issues and may have been swept up in actual feelings for Marc and not just doing the sleep around to get ahead routine. I think she was young and naive and responded poorly to an environment in the AG’s office that surely was not professional and most certainly was not healthy. I feel bad for her.

What angers me is that she lied to me and tried to use this blog and me to help cover for her knowing that we’d be misled in the process and end up looking like fools. I held off – for more reasons that one – giving Dann any cover. Most especially because of what she said. I also held off posting this because I figured there was a chance that it was a simple smear campaign and I didn’t know enough about it to comment on a chance conversation with Utovich.

We now know what many of our guts told us: there was something to this all along.

Marc Dann also lied to me. He campaigned on integrity and ethics. He was the Democrat standard bearer of corruption fighting and good government. When he was “Attorney General-elect” he put out press releases touting his new leadership team’s “new commitment to integrity, ethics, accountability, professionalism”.

We got some of that in the form of actual policy, lawsuits, and other actions. But we got more than enough of the opposite to completely overshadow those things. With a campaign against the culture of corruption and the levels to which it sunk, it simply wasn’t good enough to be a little bit better than that other gal. What we needed was a total model of integrity, ethics, and professionalism. Just like Dann promised.

He also promised not to let us down. Well, Marc. You did.

Marc Dann and Jessica Utovich both lied to me. I half understand why Jessica might. I don’t understand at all why Marc Dann did and I don’t accept it. I won’t move on from this until Dann is no longer our AG. The only way to bring back what Marc promised us is, ironically, to get rid of him.

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  • I dont know what happened to my first comment.

    Basically I said it is good to see Democrats saying they wont stand for what has gone on at the AG Office. That sucks you were lied to and your blog used in this story.

  • I’m not sure either, Ben. I only saw this one and had to rescue it from spam. ???

    You have to be willing to police your own. It’s why I was so amazed at how many refused to slam Ney, Abramoff, and the whole bunch. You threaten your own credibility by not standing up to things you are against even when those you have supported or are supposed to be on “your side” have done it.

    I’m not all that upset about being lied to. Not the first/last type thing.

    The point really, though, is I didn’t allow this blog to be used in the way Jessica may have wanted. It wasn’t so hard not to offer him cover as I’ve never been a huge Marc Dann fan. That much is on record.

  • John-David

    How do you know that a politician is lying?

    Because they are moving their lips.

    Honestly, after Dann helped that carpetbagger Capri Cafaro get her state senate seat the red flags should have went up. I couldn’t care less what letter comes after Dann’s name, the fact is he is a scumbag.

  • Tony

    I stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say good comments to Eric. Regardless of party affliation (I am a Republican) we all want our elected officials to be honest and forthright in their actions.

  • donna

    after hearing the news today, i called the ag’s office and gave them my opinion of marc dann.

    he needs to step down. i am disgusted with him, he can never be believed again or trusted for that matter. we do not want him working for the great state of ohio. he does not deserve the position. power goes to many politions heads, however, once they are compromised to the level of loss of morals, values, intergity, truth, standards, etc., should we search deep enough the dominos follows their leaders.
    this must be stopped adn it must start now! HE HAS NO RIGHT TO CONTINUE IN THIS HONORABLE PRESTIGIOUS POSITION.
    people please stand up for what is right… not the easy way out!
    we deserve better than this!

  • @4: Thanks, Tony. As I’ve said before, you can’t expect to hammer on the other side for their political failings without being ready to hold your own accountable. This actually rises above partisan politics to a concern for good government, professionalism, accountability, and ethical behavior.

    The Marc Dann era in the AG’s office – despite many good consumer fights – has been overshadowed by a hostile work environment and good old boys club. I won’t stand for that. Not in a party I generally support and in candidates I’ve supported for election.

    This is why I bang on Republicans to not shill for their corrupt officeholders (Ney ring a bell?). At some point it begins to undermine your own credibility when you fail to hold your own side accountable to the standards you employ in banging on the other.

  • It’s too bad Subodh Chandra didn’t win the primary…

    And I guess I should have stuck around to play pool, too.

  • BANZAI

    I’d echo what Tony said, all around.

  • Friend of AAGs

    I have many friends in the AG’s office, and here’s what I hear. This comes from Democrats who joined the office last year, from Democrats who were there from Lee Fisher and TOny Celebrezze, from Republicans, and from totally apolitical staff:

    Yes, he should resign, and yes, the scandals are the biggest news, but the office has been a mess since day one. The press never figured that out until they had a sex scandal. Sure, they did stories on little pieces, especially the bad appointments of the ones that had to resign or get fired. But the press still does not fully appreciate how fully he turned a professional office into a crony-driven nuthouse, and how much the staff have been grumbling all along.

    They are upset that all the signs were there long before Dann’s election, but the Democrats picked him anyway. The ethics charges and other items showed that he was a loose cannon with no management skills. No one knew what form the train wreck would take, but everyone knew that there would be a train wreck. But the ODP ran him as thanks for his Coingate efforts and because they thought he could win, but they knew or should have known that he was a ticking time bomb.

    So if we’re really honest, part of the blame goes to Redfern and the entire Democratic establishment, and it even goes to those of us who knew better and went along. We sat on our knowledge last year, hoping the stories would eventually die down and that Dann would get his act together.

    People may fault Montgomery and Petro for not being active on foreclosures or other progressive issues, or for not calling out Taft on Coingate, but they both ran the AG’s office professionally. They also ran it in a fairly non-partisan manner, keeping Democrats on staff and even hiring more and promoting them.

    Dann started right in the transition of making things more partisan and more unprofessional. Eventually he backed off a little on the planned firings, but he was firing low-level line lawyers for purely political reasons — something the others never did. He sent partisan invitations over e-mail, and he made the hiring very partisan, even for new lawyers right out of law school. He kept many holdovers, too, but he did so only when he realized he had too, and they’re the ones that have kept the place running for 18 months.

    Of Dann’s management team, his best people are both Democrats who were already there from older days, or Republicans who stayed on. The majority of his own hires are incompetent. Some, of course, turned out to be unethical scum. Others are well-meaning and honest, but just bad managers. A few of his hires are good, but they are the exception.

    I’ve been hearing this since the beginning. The worst hit are the Democrats from the old days, because they were excited about the pro-consumer part of the new wave, and have all been whispering that they wish Betty had won. They are hit hard enough that they would trade off the policy activism for having an office they could be proud of, rather than being ashamed to tell people where they work.

    In an odd way, some are thankful that this explosion has been so large that it should lead to a resignation and a fresh start. Otherwise, they’d have put up with plain mismanagement for four or eight years with no one on the outside fully knowing or caring about how bad it was.

    I have heard variations on the above sentiments from many good lawyers and non-lawyers there. Ask around, and you’ll hear the same, but only if they really trust you. Many are scared and keep their mouths and doors shut.

  • Pingback: Plunderbund - » Commenter: Dann Office a “Crony-Driven Nuthouse”()

  • Charlie

    Unlike the media and some others, I could care less whom our State Attorney General has sex with. As far as I am concerned, Marc Dann can continue with those acts until a part of his anatomy rots from ??? and falls off (or is chopped off by his wife).

    What I am concerned about is how what Marc Dann does or doesn’t do affects: his job performance; the effectiveness of the office of the Ohio Attorney General; the State of Ohio; and our communities.
    In my opinion, Marc Dann’s actions and neglect has caused problems. I now question what other problems have Marc Dann caused by his acts or negligence that the public is not aware of? What else has been covered up?

    I have very serious concerns about Marc Dann’s decision-making ability and his loyalty to the State of Ohio versus his friends.

    Marc Dann’s reaction to being caught has in my opinion shown his immaturity.
    I would like for Marc Dann to have a psychological evaluation due to the fact that, in my opinion, he has shown signs of being a psychopath.

    Marc Dann’s behavior and negligence has caused me to loose all confidence in his future performance.

    Its time that Marc Dann starts putting the State of Ohio and it’ communities first and step down to let someone the citizens of Ohio has confidence in take his place.

    Readers, please look up “Psychopath” on Wikipedia and see what you think.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

  • noname

    i hope the state of ohio is listening to some of comments circulating on this issue!

    it is so very important to realize that if marc dann is allowed to reign, we only give over power to all the others in charge of this country to let down their guard, knowing they are safe to cheat, steal, lie, abuse, intimidate, bribe, threaten, hurt,damage, and the list goes on! i know i was married to a psychopathic/bully politician…and i am very lucky to have lived to write this.

    i was once told, ‘when you first meet someone and your first impression is that they are the nicest person in the world. look out, this is a sign of a psychopath.
    people, speaking of psychopaths…add bullies to the group!

  • putz

    COME to cleveland n see OUR dopey whutever…THOU Plaindealer gets 1/2 waaaaaaayy dooown the state…LOOK up CLEVELAND lakefront plan REdo…circa 2003..EX campbell admin.Ok was PART of WIDER plan to build Yuppesquewannabe E4 the Crash housing along w/NEW port…Port will event.make it…ALONG w/N HERE is the LOL is attempts by ROYANE to BUILD A MANMADE B I R D W A T C H E R ‘ISLAND’ to attract Yups as a econ engine…IF ANY *$*@ deserves to get TOSSED…WHA the *$8@ is THIS..HOUSING..THIS has been GOIN on for NEAR 5 yrs..SOME $spent, ol Eastbank flats area LEVELED..Now this semi pigstyslopmuckhole that PROB.willSTI for yrs…LATELY lot of stuff LIKE that…lets face it..IN day n age of Web,expating,outsourcing,downszings,etc.HARD AS H to peddle projects when looks like….

  • putz

    I really have NOTHIN personal AGAINST HIM BUT the *$@ lack of COMMON sense,etc.etc.Geeeezz..WOoow..N talk of HIm runnin for Mayor?! wha the $*@ is THAT…Im NOT part of the yachtclub or anything other such..WHEN have had REAGAN,Lincoln,FDR, Rhodes,or a Barack GOT THIS!?

  • J-Dog

    Yeah, Putz, put me down for an “Atta Boy, right on!” for whatever it is you were saying…if I can ever figure out just what the heck you said.

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