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Disgraced ex-AG in Ohio loses bid to salvage law license

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Marc Dann, who resigned as Ohio’s attorney general in 2008 amid a sexual harassment scandal, was ordered by the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday to give up his law license for six months.

The court’s decision was a blow to Dann’s attempt to rebuild his reputation through pro bono work with clients facing foreclosure. Dann had been pursuing an unusual deal that would have allowed him to continue to practice while suspended.

The court gave Dann credit for fulfilling his community service obligations, paying his fines and submitting a pile of letters from judges attesting to his character. Still, justices said Dann’s former position set him apart from other lawyers, his conduct displayed poor judgment and his reasons for the conduct were ultimately unsatisfactory.

Dann, a 50-year-old Democrat from Youngstown, was a surprise winner in the 2006 race for attorney general and made a big splash initially. In his first 11 months, he took on the nation’s largest insurance brokerage, the mortgage lending industry, student loan providers, the big three credit rating agencies and MySpace.

But he also had missteps. He got caught in a traffic jam and arrived late to his first big news conference. He used state money to purchase an expensive Chevy Suburban SUV from a campaign donor. In May 2008 he resigned after admitting to an affair with an employee.

In 2010, he pleaded guilty in Franklin County Municipal Court to using campaign funds he allegedly gave to two employees to pay rent and utilities for a house they shared near downtown Columbus and a condominium they later moved into in the northwest suburbs. A second charge alleged that he knowingly filed a false financial disclosure form.