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Monday, May 09, 2005

OH-Gov: Tom Noe Scandal -- Plot Thickens

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Toledo Blade:

EVERGREEN, Colo. - In the year since Tom Noe learned that 121 rare coins bought with Ohio money were missing and possibly stolen in Colorado, he has done several things.

  • He fired the manager suspected of the theft.
  • He asked a professional coin group to sanction the manager, which it did.
  • He dispatched a partner to Colorado to seize other coins.
  • He hired a forensic accountant to figure out how many coins were missing.

But there's one thing he hasn't done: Contacted law enforcement authorities.

And they're wondering why.

This gets sketchier every day:

"What's frustrating to me is I'm getting information from so many other people, but no legitimate victim … has ever called me with further information or further concerns," said Jennifer Gilmore, an investigator for the Jefferson County, Colo., sheriff's office.

"I get information from [The Blade] that there's 119 additional coins missing, but no one has ever called us to make a report of it or to add this to it. We would be more than happy to look into that for them."

An official at the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation - the agency that gave Mr. Noe $50 million to buy rare coins as investments for the state - said Friday the bureau also is concerned. A bureau spokesman said Mr. Noe took almost a year before informing them - in an audit report - of the loss of 119 of the coins.

Remember, these aren't the type of coins you have between your sofa cushions:

And, the spokesman said, the state didn't learn until being informed by Blade reporters in March that two additional gold coins also were missing, two of the most valuable rare coins purchased for the state by an employee of Mr. Noe's at a cost of $250,000. [...]

Little is known about Ohio's121 rare coins missing in Colorado, except for the two gold pieces. One is a $3 gold coin minted in 1855 that was purchased for $150,000. The other is a $10 gold coin minted in 1845 that was purchased for $100,000.

Before their disappearance they were two of the rarest and most valuable U.S. coins on the rare-coin market. The $3 gold piece is one of only two known to exist. The $10 gold piece was purchased as part of a rare three-coin proof set including the $10 coin, a $5 gold coin, and a $2 1/2 quarter-eagle gold coin, all minted in 1845.

Swing State Project has examined this scandal and the connection of Governor Bob Taft here, here, and here. For some reason, my gut tells me there will be more to come.

Posted at 02:23 PM in Ohio | Technorati