This February, 2010 photo, shows Tom Noe, a former Republican fundraiser, posing for a photo at the Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville, Ohio.
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COLUMBUS — For the second time, the Ohio Parole Board on Friday recommended that Gov. John Kasich reject Coingate thief Tom Noe’s plea for clemency.
The final decision lies with the Republican governor, but he agreed with the board three years ago.
“Upon careful consideration of the application and all supporting documentation, it was noted by the board that the offense is serious in nature and the applicant’s sentence is not disparate,” the report reads. “In the judgment of the parole board, neither the grounds set forth in the application nor facts disclosed by way of our inquiry warrant the exercise of the clemency power at this time.”
All six of the board members participating recommended that clemency be rejected.
The former Toledo area coin dealer and Lucas County Republican Party chairman must wait two years before asking again a third time, assuming the governor rejects clemency. He had asked the governor to commute his 18-year sentence for stealing from an unusual, $50 million rare-coin investment deal he proposed and created with funds from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation -- the state’s injured workers’ trust fund.
The board again rejected his deal without holding a hearing.
Noe’s ex-wife, Bernadette Restivo, also a former Lucas County GOP chairman, urged Mr. Kasich to buck the parole board and grant clemency.
“The application speaks for itself,” Ms. Noe said. “The parole board got it wrong.”
She said she informed her ex-husband of the decision.
“He’s very disappointed,” she said. “He is speechless. He’s just trying to figure out where do we go from here. I have faith that Gov. John Kasich, who is not bound by the parole board’s recommendation, will take an independent look at Tom’s case and realize that justice has already been served by Tom’s incarceration of nearly 12 years.”
Noe, 63, has served more than half of his 18-year state sentence, which began after he completed a two-year federal sentence for laundering illegal campaign contributions to the re-election campaign of then President George W. Bush in 2004 through numerous local and state officials.
Noe is incarcerated at Marion Correctional Institution and is not slated for release until Oct. 22, 2026.
In his clemency petition, submitted Jan. 31, Noe expressed remorse and attributed his actions to “too much ambition; too many shortcuts; too little objectivity from which to view the questionable nature of rationalizations; and too much willingness to overlook the gratuitous nature of self-righteous justifications.”
He was convicted in 2006 of 29 charges, 25 of which were felonies, including a racketeering charge that carried a mandatory 10-year sentence. He was convicted of four charges related to the theft of $13 million from a pair of rare-coin and collectibles funds he managed for the BWC, diverted funds that were masked by IOUs for coin transactions that didn’t happen.
Noe’s clemency petition noted that ultimately the funds did make a profit for the BWC, the state-run insurance fund for injured workers, once the assets were sold off. It maintained that the profit would have been greater if the state had waited for the right time to sell the coins.
The prosecution, however, has maintained that the BWC was entitled not only to the profits but the money that Noe skimmed from the funds.
Noe has never been willing to tell law enforcement officials what he did with the missing $13 million in state funds. Prosecutors submitted evidence at his criminal trial in 2006 that the day he received the first $25 million from the BWC he began transferring the state funds to his personal accounts to pay for his luxurious lifestyle, which included the purchase of homes along Lake Erie and in the Florida Keys.
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