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Published: Wednesday, 8/8/2007

State likely to recoup over $50M in Noe case


COLUMBUS The sale of rare coins and other memorabilia should bring more than the $50 million the state gave a coin dealer convicted of stealing from the funds he managed for the workers compensation bureau, the broker handling the collection s liquidation said yesterday.

Tom Noe, a Toledo-area GOP fund-raiser who was given the money in 1998 and 2001 to invest in the coins and other items, was convicted of theft and other crimes and sentenced in November to 18 years in prison.

So far, the state has recovered about $42 million through sales of the investments, said Bill Brandt, president and CEO of Chicago-based Development Specialists Inc. Nearly all the coins covered in Noe s contracts have been sold, with the bulk of the rest being sports and historical memorabilia, Mr. Brandt said. Those should be liquidated by year s end, he said.

It is clear now we are going to retrieve more than $50 million. The question is how much, Mr. Brandt said.

The state confirmed the total raised so far and it expects the sale of remaining assets to surpass $50 million as well, said Leo Jennings, a spokesman for Attorney General Marc Dann.

Prosecutors calculated Noe stole $13.7 million from the state. He has been ordered to repay that amount. Noe also was given a three-year, three-month sentence in federal court for illegally funneling $45,000 in contributions to President Bush s 2004 re-election campaign.

Noe was awarded the state contracts by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. The former chief financial officer of the bureau and an investment marketer also were sentenced in the scandal. Overall, the bureau has lost $300 million in investments since 1998.

Auction houses and other brokers usually get about 10 percent of the items they sell, Mr. Brandt said. About $2 million has gone to brokers and lawyers handling the sales, he said.

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