Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dann's resignation includes Governor wasting gasoline

The headlines tonight will all focus on Marc Dann's resignation during a 4:45 p.m. press conference with Governor Strickland. Dann's comments were short before he bolted like Indiana Jones chasing a sword-carrying henchman. While it's the day most in the media thought would happen sooner than later, it's not the way today was supposed to go.

Follow this for a moment:

Strickland was scheduled to attend a Fuel Cell Conference at 3 p.m. here in Akron. As of noon, Uncle Ted's great adventure was still on tap and we believed he was on the road. Reporter Chris Tye was slated to cover the event for WKYC. Chris had been at the Statehouse yesterday when word came that Dann could step down at any moment, so the chance that Chris might be able to ask Strickland a few questions was a good one to take.

Chris Tye was on his way from Cleveland to Akron when our newsroom got word (around 1:45 p.m.) that the Gov was sending the state's Chief Economic Development Officer in his place.

While it's not unusual for a politician to send a replacement to scheduled events, Strickland's late snub meant something was up and he was returning to the statehouse.

We still covered the fuel conference (look for Vic Gideon's story on the Akron-Canton News at 6:30 p.m.) but immediately put out feelers to Columbus to see what had pulled Strickland off schedule. Sure enough, by 4 p.m. we got word that Strickland and Dann were scheduling a joint press conference. Tom Beres, our station's Senior Political Correspondent, spent the day in Columbus and was on standby for just such a news conference. So as a newsroom, all our bases were covered.

As Dann leaves office .. I think there's still two big "gets" out there for journalists to chase. First, what's Jessica Utovich's story? She's the subordinate who was Dann's mistress while working in her official capacity as his scheduler. Much has been made of their relationship, but we really need to get her side of it. Second, we still haven't heard from Alyssa Dann, Marc's wife. She was not by his side 12 days ago when the AG first announced his dirty laundry, and she wasn't there today either. Obviously, her take on all of this would draw a great deal of interest as well.

For now, Dann is cleaning out what's left of his desk, at least what's still there after investigators reportedly seized computers and other items from the AG's office earlier today. From here forward, Dann becomes an asterisk on the history of Ohio politics. With possible criminal or ethics charges pending, it's too soon to say the Dann saga is over. But for now, there's still cast members in this play who have lines to deliver.

No comments: