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Published: Wednesday, 4/27/2005

Question about Noe sidestepped by gavel

Noe Noe
KING / BLADE Enlarge

COLUMBUS - A state senator tried to ask the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents yesterday whether Tom Noe should resign, but a gavel stopped him.

At a Senate Finance Committee meeting, Sen. Dan Brady (D., Cleveland) had a question for Chancellor Rod Chu, who was testifying about the proposed higher education budget.

Mr. Brady referred to the "informal advisory opinion" from the Ohio Ethics Commission last Friday that Mr. Noe cannot be a member of the Regents while having a financial interest in a start-up business at the University of Toledo.

The commission voted unanimously to issue an "informal advisory opinion" that calls on Mr. Noe to either resign from the regents or divest from Hi-Genomics LLC.

Mr. Noe is a general partner and an investor in Hi-Genomics, which was formed to take advantage of the research of UT professors Steve Goldman and Sairam Rudrabhatla.

In its opinion, the commission said Mr. Noe is prohibited by state law from having a "financial and fiduciary interest" in Hi-Genomics while on the board of regents, which oversees Ohio's public colleges and universities. He could retain that position if he dropped out of Hi-Genomics.

"Chancellor, don't you believe that, for the good of the state, that Mr. Noe should resign?'' Mr. Brady asked.

The commitee's chairman, Sen. John Carey (R., Wellston), gaveled the question out of order, ruling that it wasn't on the topic of the hearing, which was the state operating budget.

Mr. Chu didn't answer Mr. Brady's question.

The Board of Regents had no information yesterday on Mr. Noe's decision whether to resign or divest, said spokesman Jamie Abel.

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