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Published: Friday, 5/2/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Official amends Coingate report

Inspector general adds convictions, details state collection efforts

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

Editor's note: The report released by the Ohio inspector general's office has been revised twice. The current revision is linked to this article.

COLUMBUS — The Ohio inspector general’s office on Thursday revised its final report of the Coingate scandal investigation as expected, adding convictions that had been omitted from a previous version.

The revised report also delves a bit deeper into the state’s efforts in court to recover the assets of Tom Noe, the former Toledo-area coin dealer and convicted thief at the center of the investigation.

The misdemeanor ethics convictions of Republican former Gov. Bob Taft and former aide J. Douglas Moormann have been added to the report. Mr. Taft’s 2005 plea on four counts of failing to report golf outings and other gifts, some involving Noe, now leads off a section dealing with various ethics convictions stemming from the scandal.

RELATED CONTENT: Click here to read the revised Noe report

Mr. Moormann, who failed to report a $5,000 loan received from Noe, was added as well. The convictions apparently had been intentionally omitted from the initial report under the mistaken belief that their records had been sealed in the years following their pleas.

The names of three others who also had been omitted remained missing. The report states that some convictions have been expunged but, because of the nature of sealed records, it’s unclear whether that is true for those three convictions.

In all, there were 19 criminal convictions associated with the Coingate investigation, which initially focused on Noe’s theft of $13.7 million from a $50 million investment in rare coins and collectibles he managed on behalf of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

It expanded from there into influence peddling, bribery, ethics, and outright fraud involving officials and employees at the BWC, the state government, and investment brokers. A separate federal case also sent Noe to prison for using local conduits to launder illegal contributions to then-President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

The amended report adds specific details about a 2008 Lucas County settlement deal that led to the sale of Noe’s Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America stock, just over $2 million of which went to back into the the rare coins and collectibles fund from which he was convicted of stealing.

The Lucas and Franklin county prosecutors’ offices shared $200,000 of the proceeds.

“As a result of the entry for distribution of the forfeited asset, the amount of restitution owed by Tom Noe was reduced from $13,747,000 to $11,695,000,” the report reads.

The amended report also specifies that Bernadette Restivo, Noe’s ex-wife now living in Florida, had been dismissed from a lawsuit filed by the BWC in an effort to recover Noe’s assets. In a temporary move, the inspector general’s office last week quietly deleted a reference to Ms. Restivo after erroneously saying in the initial report that an asset judgment had been lodged against her as well as her ex-husband.

Democrats have called for Inspector General Randall Meyer’s resignation because of problems associated with the report and questions about whether it fulfills the agency’s legal obligation. Mr. Meyer’s office has said there will be no resignation.

A lawsuit filed by The Blade to force the release of all public records associated with the investigation is pending.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.


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