August 21, 2005
Taft and Coingate
Hell hath no fury like a crooked coin-dealer scorned:
A Toledo-area coin dealer wants Gov. Bob Taft to take back a statement the governor made implying the dealer tried to hide his involvement with a scandal-plagued state investment, the dealer’s lawyer said Saturday.
Tom Noe, a prominent Republican fundraiser who managed a $50 million investment in rare coins for the state’s fund for injured workers, tried to reach the governor by phone and e-mail Saturday, said William Wilkinson, his attorney.
“It’s Mr. Noe’s hope that the governor will simply correct the statement he made about Mr. Noe’s supposed concealment of the coin funds,” Wilkinson said.
Taft is out of town and has not spoken to Noe recently, said Mark Rickel, the governor’s spokesman.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Taft said Noe “made a great effort to conceal” his role in managing the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation investments.
That would be the day Taft pleaded no contest to misdemeanor ethics violations that stemmed from failing to report 52 gifts including golf games, meals, and professional sports tickets. But Noe—the dealer at the center of Coingate, an investment scam that has cost Ohio taxpayers at least $12 million—is signaling that those ethics violations are the least of Taft’s worries:
William Wilkinson, lawyer for Mr. Noe, said yesterday that the governor did indeed know [about the coin funds] and was told during a conversation with Mr. Noe in May, 2001. He said statements from Mr. Taft on Thursday that the coin dealer worked hard to “conceal” his involvement with the funds, created with $50 million of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation money, were an “absurdity.”
Mr. Taft’s office said late yesterday, after being pressed on the issue, that a conversation with Mr. Noe probably took place on May 13, 2001. They attended a Mother’s Day golf and brunch affair at the Inverness Club in Toledo.
… “The governor has no recollection of the discussion. There was a social event, family and kids. It was a Mother’s Day event, I believe,” spokesman Mark Rickel said. “The governor has no recollection of this type of business discussion.”
… Buzz Roberts, attorney for Mr. Noe’s wife, Bernadette, also said he has information that Mr. Taft knew about the investment because it was spoken of freely at Mr. Noe’s Aug. 24, 2004, 50th birthday party and “roast.”
Which helpfully rhymes with what Taft now is: toast.
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I was wrong. I voted for the wrong person. I made a mistake and it is now bitting us in the ass.
Where are you now Ralph Nader? The war is on going, Katrina's effects are still here.
Ralph Nader please do this country a favor and go away. For ever. Your 15 minutes of fame are over.
If you were half the man you have lead this country to believe. Start a recall that counts.
Recall President Bush. Recall all or half of the congress and senate. Do something worth my time.
What was I thinking? I was blinded by Ralph Nader and others like Gov. Taft and of course Arnold.
We have come full circle. MONEY corpus, money.
I am very ashamed of how we have let our country's classes grow wider. And wider not for the good.
I am ashamed, that we have allowed our government to do this. New Orleans is not the only poverty stricken area in this country. There is more, a hell of a lot more.
Yeah, we are the leading nation of the world.
If I sound mad. I am. I mad that we have lost touch with our checks and balances. I mad, that we failed. We allowed ourselves to be lead in a direction that we only lead to more destruction.
We have allowed ourselves to believe that waving a bible around will make us pure and saintly.
There is now a blur vision of the foundation of this county.
So please recall President Bush.
Please Ralph Nader go away.
Gov Taft step down.
Arnold...go climb a mountain that is known for land slides.
Your leadship is not worth my time any more.
We can do this. But we must get over our fear of publishing the truth about the President and his administration.
We must publish the truth about Ralph Nader, and how he is a phony.
We need to send the President, Ralph Nader, Gov Taft and any other offical packing.
Let us start today.
Posted by: Bob Larson at September 14, 2005 10:03 AM
You may be interested in a collection of quotes and links of the reactions of Ohio bloggers to Taft's ethics convictions I've compiled here.
Posted by: Michael Meckler at August 21, 2005 9:58 AM