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Published: 2/10/2006

2 ex-aides to Taft, Voinovich charged in Noe case

BY JAMES DREW AND STEVE EDER
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

COLUMBUS Franklin County prosecutors today filed misdemeanor charges against two former senior aides to Governors Bob Taft and George Voinovich.

H. Douglas Talbott and Douglas Moormann were charged after becoming embroiled in scandal because of their ties to Tom Noe.

Mr. Talbott was charged with two counts of violating state ethics law for failing to disclose a $39,000 payment he received from Tom Noe in September, 2002, which Mr. Talbott said was a loan to help buy a vacation home in Lakeside, Ohio. He left the governor s office in May, 2000, to become a lobbyist.

He also was charged with failing to disclose meals and other gratuities he received as a member of the Noe Supper Club a group of Columbus insiders who accepted lavish dinners from the coin dealer at Morton s steakhouse, a popular, upscale hangout for the politically connected.

It is a first-degree misdemeanor to falsify an ethics form, with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Prosecutors charged Mr. Talbott with one count of violating state campaign finance law by funneling money from Mr. Noe to contribute to three Republican state Supreme Court candidates.

On Thursday, the state Elections Commission referred the matter to the Franklin County prosecutor s office. If convicted, Mr. Talbott could face a fine up to $10,000.

Mr. Moormann was charged with one misdemeanor for failing to disclose a $5,000 loan he received from Mr. Noe in 2004 after he had left the governor s office, said Lara Baker, chief legal counsel in the Columbus prosecutor s division.

At the time, Mr. Moormann was a member of the Transportation Review Advisory Council, which reviews transportation projects for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Under state law, public officials must report the source of gifts valued above $75 and must disclose the sources of loans.

Mr. Moormann and Mr. Talbott are scheduled to appear Feb. 24 in Franklin County Municipal Court, Ms. Baker said.

Because both individuals have cooperated, because both individuals worked with the federal and state task force in connection with this investigation, they will not be arrested, said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O Brien.

Mr. Moormann worked on Governor Voinovich s staff and was chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Maureen O Connor. He was Governor Taft s executive assistant for criminal justice and public safety from the start of Mr. Taft s first term in 1999 to May, 2001. He then served as executive assistant for business and industry for the governor from May, 2001, to July, 2003.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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