April 3, 2005 |
Blade first reports that the Bureau of Workers Compensation has invested $50 million
in rare coins with coin dealer and prominent Republican Thomas Noe.
Governor Taft defends his campaign contributor Mr. Noe and
the state's investment. "The bottom line is: Is it making money for the state?
And it was. He was making money for the state; what's the problem?
has probably been the most effective advocate for this part of the state in Columbus
that you've got and you're going after this guy. You're trying to kill him for
Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles announces
he will investigate "alleged wrongful acts associated with the investment
practices" of the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
The FBI confirms that it is investigating Thomas Noe for possible
violations of campaign contribution laws. It is alleged that Noe gave associates
money to donate to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, allowing him to exceed federal
May 2, 2005
"We made a good deal for the state insurance fund, when we invested with
Mr. Noe. When we leave, if we leave with Mr. Noe, It's going to be a good deal
for the state insurance fund." -James Conrad, Director of the Ohio Bureau
of Workers Compensation
May 9, 2005
The state announces it will dissolve its $50 million investment in
rare coins with Noe.
May 10, 2005
Noe resigns his seats on the Ohio Turnpike Commission and the Ohio Board of
May 11, 2005
Toledo Blade asks the Ohio Supreme Court to order the state Bureau of Worker's
Compensation to release uncensored records of the bureau's $50 million investment
May 18, 2005
of Ohio's seven Supreme Court justices recuse themselves from any public records
cases that involve Noe and the coin investment. The five had all received campaign
contributions from Noe.
May 22, 2005
Governor Taft is "fed up." He orders state fraud investigators to execute
an inventory of all rare coins owned by the state. Investigators are refused entry
by Tom Noe at offices where coins are kept.
The Inspector General Thomas Charles asks Taft's office for
records because he found during his investigation that "certain members of
the governor's staff may have received lodging accommodations and other items"
May 24, 2005
General Jim Petro goes to court to take control of state rare-coins funds from
Noe. The Ohio inspector general seeks telephone and email records of four high-level
employees of Taft who allegedly took gifts from Noe.
The Bureau of Workers Compensation says it is conducting around-the-clock
surveillance of Noe's office after three days of non-cooperation with Ohio fraud
May 30, 2005
Law enforcement agents raid Noe's headquarters and cart off state assets and hard
May 31, 2005
Attorney General's office releases reports that nearly $7 million worth of coins
could not be found. Nearly $10-$12 million in state assets are missing from the
$50 million venture.
June 2, 2005
The Toledo Blade reports that H. Douglas Talbott, a former high-ranking aide
to Gov. Taft accepted $39,000 from Noe so he could buy a house in Lakeside, OH.
Talbott did not list the loan in his ethics form as required by Ohio law.
Attorney General Petro acknowledges that Bernadette Noe, lawyer
and wife of Tom Noe may have successfully lobbied his office to direct thousands
of dollars in contracts to her law firm to collect debt on behalf of the state.
Colorado law enforcement agents seize about 265 Cuban cigars,
hundreds of rare coins and bottles of wine, computers and documents from the home
and office of Michael Storeim, a friend and business associate of Tom Noe. Investigators
believe items seized may have been purchased with money from the Ohio Bureau of
June 8, 2005
Ohio media reports that the Bureau of Workers Compensation concealed over
$215 million in losses and it appears that the Governor was aware of the problem
June 14, 2005
Taft sends a letter to the Ohio Ethics Commission stating that it has, "recently
come to my attention that I failed to list a number of golf outings or events
on my financial disclosure forms over the past several years."
2005 Ohio Attorney general, Jim Petro, says that Tom Noe stole millions of dollars
from the state and used a "Ponzi" scheme to fabricate his profits. "Ponzi"
schemes are a type of illegal pyramid scheme named for Charles Ponzi, who duped
thousands of New England residents into investing in a postage stamp speculation
scheme back in the 1920s.
Brian K. Hicks, former Chief of Staff of Gov. Bob Taft, and Cherie
N. Carroll, Hicks' executive assistant, admit that they took gifts from Noe. Hicks
pleads no contest to knowingly failing to list on financial disclosure forms that
he and his family stayed at Noe's 1.3 million dollar house in Florida in 2002
and 2003. Carroll pleads no contest to a misdemeanor: "recklessly" accepting
meals from Noe valued at over $500.
Judge Charles Wittenberg of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court
confirms that a second "special" grand jury is investigating the state
scandal involving Tom Noe and his coin fund.
Governor Bob Taft reveals a partial list of golf outings including
games with Thomas Noe. Taft does not reveal who paid for these outings.
Records continue to be released to the press about the BWC
and Noe. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Thomas Noe loaned more than a half-million
dollars in state money to a comic book dealer who used rare comic books as collateral.
August 9, 2005
Blade reports that Noe used his American Express credit card from Thomas Noe,
Inc.-- the same company that he's accused of using as a vehicle to steal millions
from Ohio's rare-coin funds-- to contribute $10,000 to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
August 16, 2005
Blade reports that the state auditor's office is set to spend an extra $645,000
on its investigation into the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's $50 million
investment with coin dealer Tom Noe.
Gov. Bob Taft pleads "no contest" to four misdemeanor
August 27, 2005
account released by Tom Noe's attorney states that on May 13, 2001, Mr. Noe told
Gov. Bob Taft about the $25 million rare-coin fund he operated for the Ohio Bureau
of Workers' Compensation at the Toledo area golf club, Inverness. Gov. Taft maintains
he didn't know about the state's rare-coin investment with Mr. Noe until April
3, when The Toledo Blade first reported it.
James McLean, the chief investment officer of the Ohio Bureau
of Workers' Compensation, is fired by Tina Keilmeyer, the bureau's interim administrator-CEO,
citing "lack of effectiveness and poor decision making."
Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted announces that the legislature
will consider private operation of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
Attorney General Jim Petro, under an order from the Ohio Supreme
Court, releases about 500 pages of state coin-fund records to The Toledo Blade
that contain information that his office had previously withheld from the public.
Attorney General Jim Petro presents evidence alleging that
Tom Noe used money from Ohio's rare-coin venture to buy his former Catawba Island
home, landscape his property in the Florida Keys, and show an imaginary profit
to the state. He calls it a "pure misappropriation of public funds."
Ohio State University's student government officially puts
Trustee Brian Hicks, former Chief of Staff to Gov. Taft, on notice that they believe
he must step down, labeling him an "embarrassment" to the school in
light of his criminal conviction on an ethics violation in July.
Tom Noe is charged with illegally funneling $45,400 to President
George W. Bush's re-election campaign.
Noe pleads not guilty to felony charges that he laundered money
into President Bush's re-election campaign.
H. Douglas Talbott, former aide to Governor Taft, admits in
documents filed with the Ohio Elections Commission that he improperly funneled
campaign contributions from Thomas Noe to the Chief Justice and two other Supreme
February 9, 2006
Ohio Elections Commission refers two former aides to Governor Taft for prosecution.
H. Douglas Talbott faces charges based on a compaint that he funneled Noe campaign
contributions to three Ohio Supreme Court Justices. Talbott also faces charges
for taking a $39,000 loan and meals from Tom Noe and failing to disclose in his
ethic statements. J. Douglas Moorman is referred to prosecutors because he failed
to report a $5,000 loan from Noe.
Franklin County prosecutors file ethics charges against H. Douglas
Talbott and J. Douglas Moorman.
February 13, 2006
Thomas Noe is indicted on 53 felonies including money laundering, theft,
tampering with records and forgery.
Suspicion arises after the Columbus Dispatch reports that Terrence
Gasper (Chief Financial Officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation) may
have written and circulated a list of brokers to whom state money was supposed
to go. It is suggested that these brokers and BWC employees received kick-backs.
Noe requests to have all Lucas County judges disqualified from
hearing his case. The Ohio Supreme Court denies his request.
Federal judge sets a May 31, 2006 date for Noe to change his
not guilty plea (upon Noe's request).
The Noe's home in the Florida Keys is placed on the market
with an estimated value of close to $5 million. Petro's office says they will
seek the assets if the home is sold because Noe did not comply with an order requiring
him to ask permission for selling any asset over $5,000.
The state of Ohio makes $1 million in an auction of coins and
other materials bought by Noe with state money.
US Treasury Department closes its investigation into Noe's
membership on the Coin Advisory Committee without finding any wrongdoing.
Noe requests that his trial on state charges
be moved out of Lucas County.
June 5, 2006
Terrence Gasper, former CFO of the BWC, pleads guilty
this week to corruption charges, and is named in a recent investigation detailing
allegations of influence-peddling in New Hampshire's pension system.
Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas
Osowik refuses a public records request asking him to unseal documents in the
criminal case against Tom Noe.
Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, Toledo
City Councilwoman Betty Shultz, former Toledo Mayor and state Commerce Director
Donna Owens and former State Representative and lobbyist Sally Perz plead guilty
for failing to publicly disclose money they received from Noe. Each of these women
acted as a conduit for Noe and contributed laundered money to President Bush.
All were appointed to state boards by Governor Bob Taft and were required to report
any gifts they received but, they did not. Each is fined $1,000.
A report released today reveals that investigators
probing the widening Noe scandal found a check for $2,500 from Tom Noe to lobbyist
Sally Perz dated May 10, 2002. That same day, Perz made a $2,500 contribution
to Bob Taft's campaign. This suggests that Perz was a "conduit" to Taft's
campaign, as well as to President Bush's. Charges were not brought against Perz
because the special prosecutor was "satisfied with Ms. Perz being convicted
of one misdemeanor offense."