Pulling this comment from this post because you need to read it. Like many have said there were problems all along and not just with frat-house type activity. Friend of AAG says:

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.

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  • skeptical but curious

    I don’t know what to make of this. Sure, Dann has made big mistakes, but is it really that bad for regular staffers? Or could this be Republicans spreading this to pile on? Maybe the commenter is honest, but s/he has skewed, unrepresentative sources?

    Eric, what do you hear personally? Do you know many people in the office? Could it really be that bad?

  • Muscar

    I can personally attest to the politicization of the professional (attorney) staff. Dann fired dozens and dozens of attorneys who had any type of background with Republican politics. He fired one particular female attorney because she had been a Republican Senate page during undergrad for a year and she forgot to whitewash her resume. Dann required all employees to re-apply for their jobs and the ones who didn’t take off Republican connections/jobs/references on their resumes were fired if they were low level.

    One particularly funny anecdote is that Dann promoted the section head of one of the divisions up the chain of command and then said that he wanted the deputy section chief to become the new section chief. The former section head said that was a good idea – except that Dann had fired the deputy section chief a few weeks before because he was a Republican.

    You will hear literally dozens and dozens of stories just like that if you ask around. Not surprisingly, you will also find dozens of attorneys and staff hired just because they are originally from Youngstown, regardless of qualifications. I know several attorneys who should not even have a license to practice law who are currently employed by the AG’s office solely because they grew up in Youngstown.

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