COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Supreme Court suspended the license of former Ohio Attorney General Marc E. Dann for six months.
It was suspended for engaging in conduct that resulted in his conviction on misdemeanor criminal counts of soliciting improper compensation and filing false financial disclosure statements during his tenure as Ohio attorney general.
In the 7-0 opinion announced Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that Dann "engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law" by making improper payments from his political campaign fund to two senior aides while they were employed by the attorney general's office.
In addition, they also found that his filing 2007 and 2008 financial disclosure statements that failed to disclose expense reimbursement checks totaling $17,540 that Dann had received from his campaign committee and failed to disclose that a campaign contributor and his companies had paid more than $20,000 to lease a private jet that transported Dann, his children and others to a seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Tuesday morning, Dann's law firm released a statement:
"While we are saddened that the Supreme Court has chosen to suspend our partner, we respect the decision," said Michael Harshman, Partner at Dann Doberdruk & Harshman.
"During the suspension, the firm will be known as the Doberdruk & Harshman Law Office. We have been upfront with all of our clients about the possibility of such a decision; disclosing the pending complaint in our client agreements and providing email, letter and blog updates on the matter. We are confident in our ability to continue to successfully represent our clients."
"Each day at Dann Doberdruk & Harshman LLC and now at Doberdruk & Harshman Law Office., we stand up to the banks and big business in the interests of homeowners, consumers, working people and small businesses. We are proud of the work that we do to protect the rights of the hard working people that we count among our clients and will continue to wage the battle against foreclosure," Harshman added.
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Dann, now 50, was sworn in as the 47th Attorney General on Jan. 7, 2007.
In rejecting Dann's argument that a stayed license suspension was a sufficient sanction for his misconduct, the court wrote:
"While we recognize that Dann has offered substantial mitigating evidence, we note that he has previously been disciplined by this court, he has admitted that he knowingly engaged in the conduct that resulted in his criminal conviction for soliciting improper compensation, and that his conduct with respect to his financial-disclosure statements fell somewhere between reckless and knowing. He also engaged in this unlawful conduct while serving as the state's chief legal officer and one of the most recognizable attorneys in this state."
"Having considered, Dann's conduct, the applicable aggravating and mitigating factors, and the sanctions imposed for comparable misconduct, we find that the board properly weighed the aggravating and mitigating factors present in this case. Therefore, we overrule Dann's objections, concur with the findings of the board, and agree that a six-month actual license suspension is the appropriate sanction for Dann's misconduct."