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May 2, 2005

Coingate

Let me see if I have this right. Since 1998, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has invested $50 million in rare coins—one of the riskier bets on the planet. The cash was invested via Capital Coin Funds, a company controlled by Tom Noe, a well-known Republican fund-raiser. Noe is also quite well-known to the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI, which are investigating him for possible federal campaign contribution violations.

It gets better: some of the coins now seem to have vanished. As the Toledo Blade reports:

An accounting firm hired to check the inventory of rare coins purchased by Mr. Noe or his associates for the state found last year that not only were the coins missing, but 119 coins were possibly stolen by a Colorado coin dealer, according to a 2004 audit report released last week.
Mr. Noe hired the dealer to run a coin subsidiary funded with money from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the agency charged with paying the medical bills and providing income to workers injured on the job.
The 119 missing coins are in addition to two coins worth $300,000 owned by the state that were lost in the mail in 2003, confirmed Jeremy Jackson, press secretary for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Ohio’s Inspector General has now launched an investigation into Noe’s coin funds, and the state’s decision to invest in them. This is proving difficult, however, since Noe’s lawyers are refusing to hand over several documents related to the investments. As for Noe:

He was President Bush’s northwest Ohio campaign chairman in last year’s presidential race and because of the contributions he raised for the President, he earned the coveted status of a Bush “pioneer.”

The whole sordid story is here and here.

Posted by Stephen at 8:08 PM in Politics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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