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Published: Thursday, 5/26/2005

'Coingate' shines light on cronyism

The Blade has provided yeoman service to Ohio through its discovery and coverage of Ohio s coingate scandal and subsequent discovery of gross irregularities in the investment policy of BWC.

Coin investment, though not illegal, is generally regarded as highly risky and speculative investment, even for professional investors. To invest state money on which thousands of workers rely for relief if injured on the job, smells of a rotten investment, in terms of prudence.

Tom Noe was able to buy this investment for himself through heavy contributions to the Republican Party politicians. This is indicative of a deeper malady in our system, wherein politicians could put at risk $50 million of state money in return for campaign contributions.

This is an example of political cronyism at its worst. It can be surmised that lower level officials did not decide upon an investment of this size; responsibility probably goes all the way to the top of the administration. The Blade should persist with its investigation.

This scandal is also indicative of a corrupt political system, wherein the politicians are dependent on major contributors to finance their campaign, who in turn expect favors. This calls for an overhaul of our campaign finance laws, for the present laws are woefully inadequate in preventing similar occurrences in the future.

As long as the politicians are going to require filling their campaign coffers to fight the next election, such episodes are bound to recur.

SATISH K. SOOD

Westchester Road

During the past few weeks, The Blade has been incessant in its vicious attack on Tom Noe. It seems to be a fairly common practice of yours, especially when it involves Republicans.

When you detest someone and decide to pummel that individual with distasteful stories, nothing seems to be sacred not even a person s dignity. If this isn t modern-day crucifixion, I don t know what is. I have never seen such journalistic bias.

I personally don t know Mr. Noe, but in my judgment no human being deserves the kind of ill treatment that you have been dishing out. Your daily hassling and badgering amounts to nothing less than what I call journalistic carnage.

Richard A. Martel

Linden Lane

I m curious to know if the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation could front me $50 million to invest?

I ll promise to document each and every dollar wagered in Vegas. Who knows? The taxpayers could become a winner!

FRANK ALBERTS III

Lambertville

Well, the latest round of mysteries in Tom Noe s Coingate does not surprise this reader. Money sent to California to help out a bankrupt associate and the recipient avoids reporting the assets to the court, not to mention the ongoing FBI investigation of alleged illegal campaign contributions to the Bushies re-election via friends and family of Tom Noe. Coins and funds are missing from the Colorado connection. The raid on Colorado coin dealer Michael Storeim s office to recover coins in his possession.

This story has the making of a cheap novel, or a B movie from Hollywood. Not at all surprising is that the key players are Republicans.

What a sweetheart deal for Tom Noe. Convince the State of Ohio to loan $50 million seed money if you will of state workers compensation funds for him to invest in coins or whatever else he used the money for. Reap the profits and spread a little of those profits to Republican candidates. Help out a buddy in California, and keep a little for his opulent lifestyle. Like a troop of monkeys grooming themselves. I guess if you suck-up to the right people, you too can be wealthy. Wish I could have someone loan me a few million to invest. Should I call Tom?

James Marshall

Ogden Avenue

I am writing because of the different forum letters praising Tom and Bernadette Noe. For all who think the story is a witch hunt, let me remind you the coins were purchased with TAXPAYER MONEY. As a taxpayer, I want to know where and how my tax money is being spent especially since Gov. Bob Taft is repeatedly saying the state is in a deficit, thanks to the reckless spending of our tax dollars in Columbus, and will need to raise taxes. Any and all transactions with taxpayer money should be able to withstand the light of day. If it was the Noes own money, no big deal, but it s not. It s taxpayer money.

Josephine McConnell

Sunset Boulevard

With all the attention and front-page tabloid-style news devoted to Tom Noe, I was wondering if you could answer a question? Does he wear briefs or boxers? If the British press can smuggle out photos of Saddam Hussein in his Fruit of the Looms, I am sure The Blade with its Pulitzer-winning staff could muster a compromising photo or two of Mr. Noe.

Brad Reynolds

Maumee

When (if) the state manages to get back its speculative investment in Tom Noe's rare-coin funds, it will need to find a new venture to fill that niche in the portfolio.

I wonder if it would back my son's Pokemon card trading. He has a pretty good record to date, and I don't think he would need the whole $50 million to start. Probably $5 million or so would get him going.

Michael Lynn

Sylvania

How nice to see the GOP sticking together, with Lynn Olman purchasing the Noes' condo. Maybe he can pay for it with rare coins. That seems to be a hot commodity among the Republicans lately.

R. Kevin Gregor

Perrysburg



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