COLUMBUS, Ohio - Former Attorney General Marc Dann ran a vulgar and unprofessional office and misused campaign funds to make lavish payments to friends and family, the state's government watchdog said yesterday in releasing the results of a six-month investigation.
Dann, a Democrat elected in 2006 on an anti-corruption platform, resigned in May amid a sexual harassment scandal in his office that included his admission that he had an affair with an employee.
The report by Inspector General Tom Charles said Dann hired a coterie of young women, dubbed "the Dannettes," who were so unqualified and unprofessional in their dress and conduct that an office assistant was assigned to conduct etiquette training.
"It was very difficult not to make that report an X-rated report," Charles said at a news conference. He said "power, money and sex" were central elements that surfaced throughout the investigation.
Dann used his position to indulge himself and gave well-paid top jobs to aides whose only qualification was their loyalty and friendship to their boss, the report said.
Charles said he was forwarding the report to Columbus and Franklin County prosecutors, the IRS and the Ohio Department of Taxation and other entities.
Among other findings in the report, Dann:
_ Ballooned the size of the office's fleet of cars by buying 99 additional vehicles at a cost of $1.9 million and doling out some of the cars as perks to senior managers.
_ Provided BlackBerry communication devices to virtually everyone in the office - at a monthly cost of $30,000.
_ Used state-owned airplanes 16 times, including ordering pilots to pick him up at his Youngstown home or drop him off, at a cost to taxpayers of $8,175.
"There was either a general lack of understanding or a blatant disregard for the law and for how you run a public office," said state Auditor Mary Taylor.
The inspector general's report also said Dann used his campaign fund to buy food, beverages, snacks, newspapers and other items virtually every day he was in office, racking up $31,474 in expenses. *