Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Former Ohio AG - 6 month license suspension

Ohio Supreme Court upholds suspension

Former Ohio Attorney General loses appeal, and has license suspended for 6 months
Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann
The Ohio Supreme Court announced a decision in a long dragged out process to punish the former state attorney general  - Marc Dann. The punishment will simply be a six-month law license suspension. This action, in part, is for a 2009 conviction in which he was charged with mishandling campaign funds for personal uses. The crimes were misdemeanors and Dann has since paid a $1,000 fine and completed 500 hours of community service.

Marc Dann, a true hero to homeowners fighting fraudulent foreclosures, resigned his attorney general post in 2008 after a turbulent 17 months in office.  He has been working, as a private practice attorney, in an office located in Cleveland. Although we expect the negative media to be on full display, Marc Dann is a great leader, lawyer, and consumer advocate. We look forward to his return.

Related: Ohio Bombshell: Former AG takes on LPS, Mills & Servicers

For some time Dann has continued with a legal effort to fight the somewhat lengthy suspension. Dann had clearly "paid-his-debt" to society with long and continued efforts of pro-bono work. Dann's legal team had asked the Supreme Court of Ohio for leniency from a suspension recommended by the State Attorney Disciplinary Board. The disciplinary board of commissioners (on Grievances and Discipline) surprisingly sought to override a decision reached by The Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The Disciplinary Counsel, which acts as prosecutor in attorney discipline cases, had initially recommended a stayed six-month suspension that would have allowed Dann to continue his work in private practice. But it was overruled by the state Attorney Disciplinary Board, which after much wrangling (politically motivated?) recommended a flat six-month suspension. Today's decision from the Supreme Court has upheld the six-month suspension.

Dann's Cleveland law firm, issued a statement through Attorney Grace Doberdruk: "We have received notice that the Supreme Court has chosen to suspend our partner, Marc Dann, for six months.  The suspension is the culmination of proceedings against Marc that began in 2008.  While we are saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision, we respect it. Doberdruk & Harshman Law Office will continue to stand up to 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 we count among our clients and will continue to wage the battle against foreclosure.

Additionally, Doberdruk & Harshman issued the following: "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," {and} "We are confident in our ability to continue to successfully represent our clients."
The law firm will remove Dann's name during the suspension, and will be known as:
Doberdruk & Harshman Law Office
4600 Prospect
Cleveland OH  44103

Today, in rejecting Dann’s argument for a stayed license suspension, the court wrote:

“Like judges, the attorney general has a heightened duty to the public by virtue of his elected office. As the chief law officer for the state, the attorney general is charged with providing legal representation and advice to all officers, boards, heads of departments, and institutions of this state,

 “While we recognize that Dann has offered substantial mitigating evidence, we note that he has previously been disciplined by this court,.....{and} 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.”

“For that reason, the work of the attorney general touches upon virtually all areas of our state government....“Thus, Dann’s criminal and ethical violations reflect poorly on his fitness to practice law and the legal profession as a whole, but also cause incalculable harm to the public perception of the attorney general’s office and those government agencies, departments, and institutions that the attorney general advises and represents.”

Slip Opinion: Disciplinary Counsel v. Dann, No. 2012-Ohio-5337 (HERE)