Capital News: Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann back in Columbus, sans media frenzy

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published:

Columbus -- There was a time when Marc Dann was the hottest show in town.

Statehouse reporters would stake out buildings, waiting for the beleaguered attorney general to make an appearance.

On the day he resigned, I stood outside the locked glass doors of his office in downtown Columbus with many other reporters and camera crews, awaiting his inevitable decision to step down. He ducked out a side door and went quickly down a stairwell while the journalist herd chased him.

There were frequent quips about Dann and his shortcomings -- the aides he hired who were eventually fired, the criminal charges and election commission complaints.

We were there when he was fined and sentenced to community service and barred from serving in public office for seven years.

We watched as he was suspended from his law practice for six months as a result of the scandal.

Back in the day (in reality, only a couple of years ago) reporters had a hard time jockeying for position to interview Dann. He was the reason I purchased my first monopod -- it was getting way too difficult to hold my shaky video camera aloft while battling the horde trying to get a clear view of Dann and the other people involved.

Dann was still drawing a crowd last year when he was in the chambers of the Ohio Supreme Court, hoping to convince justices to let him keep his law license. They weren't swayed, and he had to sit out of his practice for six months before being reinstated last summer.

And today?

Marc Dann, disgraced former attorney general and the butt of jokes with punch lines involving Hawaiian pizza, is now a private practice attorney who focuses his attention on Ohioans facing foreclosure and other unfortunate financial entanglements.

And reporters apparently could care less.

His law firm sent out a release prior to his appearance before the Ohio Supreme Court last week, where he argued on behalf of some Medina County homeowners who were subjected to foreclosure proceedings by a lender who didn't actually hold the mortgage on the property in question at the time of the filing.

It's a case that could have implications for thousands of homeowners who have lost their homes.

But after the oral arguments, I was the only reporter in the hallway waiting to ask Dann questions. Just me and my Dann-inspired monopod and my shaky video camera.

He called his law practice a "godsend" and said he enjoys helping consumers dealing with foreclosures, debt issues and financial distress.

"I've been very fortunate to find a career after politics that honestly is much more fulfilling and a lot less stressful," he said.

Dann isn't shying away from the public spotlight. A website for his law firm (stopohioforeclosure.com) proclaims, "Former Senator and Attorney General Opens Private Practice to Individual Homeowners."

A blog (dannlaw.wordpress.com) includes links to his oral arguments before the state's high court and a headline noting it was his first appearance before justices since his reinstatement.

So maybe, in a few years when he's eligible, Dann again will be the focus of public attention, and the media frenzy will begin again.

Though he didn't leave much room for another run at public office.

"… I assume that's something … I don't ever want to do again," he said, adding, "Unless the state of politics in this country and in this state dramatically changes, I would have no interest, and I would encourage my children not to have an interest in it either."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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