OCTOBER 15, 2007
A federal trial this week in Akron could be the final chapter in a two-year public corruption scandal that has rocked Ohio politics with more than a dozen convictions, including a former Republican governor.
The scandal emerged from a 2005 case that began with a prominent Republican donor (Tom Noe) stealing millions of dollars in state money during an ill-fated investment in rare coins he managed for the state workerâ??s compensation fund. Ohioâ??s Attorney General said Noe stole at least $13 million of the stateâ??s $50-million investment in the coins.
The defendant in this weekâ??s trial is a politically connected investment manager who lost $216 million from the Ohio Bureau of Workerâ??s Compensation while the daughter of a prominent member of the agencyâ??s oversight board worked at the investment firm.
A conviction would mark the 19th in the widespread scandal that is blamed for costing Republicans four out of five state offices in last fallâ??s election, including governor. For the first time in 16 years Ohio citizens elected a governor that is not Republican when they sent Democrat Ted Strickland to Columbus.
Among the convicted is the chief financial officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workersâ?? Compensation who was sentenced to five years in prison for racketeering and ethics violations and former Governor Bob Taft on ethics charges. Several other state employees and members of Taftâ??s gubernatorial staff are also among the convicted.
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