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Former Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel threatened with jail time in divorce case

Former Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, a three-time Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has been threatened with jail time for violating the terms of a 2020 divorce agreement.

A Republican who spent years as one of Ohio’s highest profile politicians has been threatened with jail time for violating the terms of his 2020 divorce agreement.

Josh Mandel, a former two-term state treasurer who ran three times for U.S. Senate, was sentenced to seven days behind bars, as was his ex-wife, Ilana Mandel, after an Ashland County court magistrate found them in contempt of court for violating elements of the deal.

The two have an opportunity to avoid the sentence, issued April 25 and first reported by The PlainDealer/cleveland.com, by complying with certain conditions over the next four months.


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Common Pleas Magisrate Paul Lange found the Mandels each entered the other’s home without permission and refused to pay bills related to their three children, as well as that Ilana Mandel once failed to take a child to soccer practice. He decided against contempt on several other disputed items, including telephone time with the children and the handling of their 529 college savings account.

To avoid jail, Josh Mandel will have to provide his former spouse with regular updates on the 529 account and Ilana Mandel will have to pay for a sports program for one of their children, minus an amount her ex-husband must pay her for one child’s medical expenses.

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Messages seeking comment were left with Josh Mandel and with attorneys for both parties.

It’s the latest twist in a divorce case that’s drawn consistent attention over the years — due to Mandel’s notability and his ex-wife’s position in one of Cleveland’s wealthiest and most prominent families, as well as the way the case was handled.

The pair filed for divorce in a county far from populous Cuyahoga, where they lived, and under seal. When Mandel last ran for Senate, he offered news organizations, including The Associated Press, a chance to review redacted copies of the files — but full public access was denied. The reason he gave for the secrecy at the time was that he was protecting his children’s privacy and safety.

The Cincinnati Enquirer disagreed that the file deserved to be shielded from public view and sued. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in the newpaper’s favor in October 2022, finding the Ashland County judge had shielded the Mandels’ case improperly and ordering him to lift the seal.

Mandel previously ran for Senate against Democrat Sherrod Brown in 2012 and sought to face him again in 2018 before dropping out. He came in second in a crowded GOP primary in 2022.

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