Redfern requests final Coingate report

Inspector general asked to release inquiry results



    The Columbus Dispatch

  • Noe

    COLUMBUS — Seven years after former Toledo coin dealer Tom Noe was sentenced to prison for stealing from $50 million in rare coin investments he operated for the state, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party is still eager to get his hands on the investigation’s final report.

    Chris Redfern, also a state representative from Port Clinton, sent another letter this week to Inspector General Randall Meyer.

    The letter consisted of one sentence: “When can the public expect to receive your report on the Tom Noe investigation?”

    Noe is serving an 18-year sentence in prison for theft and other crimes in connection with the investments he administered for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

    Meyer spokesman Carl Enslen said the office would not discuss the final Coingate investigative report until it is released to the public. The investigation began in 2005 and preceded Mr. Meyer, who was appointed by Gov. John Kasich in 2011.

    Early last year, his office said no report would be issued because no one directly involved in the investigation remained in the office. It then abruptly reversed position.

    The former inspector general, Tom Charles, is now state public safety director.

    Democrats are eager to see what other names might appear in the report beyond those in the investigation’s immediate web. The scandal reached the highest echelon of the state government when then-Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor ethics charges for failing to report golf outings and other gifts in disclosure forms.

    The scandal led to a near-sweep by Democrats of statewide offices in 2006, a victory completely reversed four years later by a Republican election tidal wave.

    Noe’s indictment followed a year-long investigation by The Blade that uncovered missing and stolen coins, massive mismanagement of the state coin-investment funds, and a web of influence peddling that Noe created in the local and state Republican parties and state government.

    “We’re looking to find the truth,” Mr. Redfern said. “I believe Tom Charles purposely did not release a full account of what occurred during Coingate … I think somebody’s covering something up. This was the most significant scandal in a generation. We’ve never received a full accounting in Coingate.”