Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

Noe: Do roads lead to Householder - Part II

In our earlier post, we suggested that there was more than a strong likelihood of a link between the federal fundraising investigation into Tom Noe and the investigation into Larry Householder.

The Blade's dynamic duo of Drew and Wilkinson doesn't provide the smoking gun yet, but they do start making some intriguing links to Householder that hint at something more to come:
[Former Taft aide Brian] Hicks isn't the only high-powered Ohio official to be a guest at one of the Noes' Florida homes.

Larry Householder, former speaker of the house, said he dropped in on the Noes in November and watched Ohio State beat Michigan in football at the Noes' new $2 million home in nearby Tavernier, Fla.

The Noes sold the Islamorada home in 2003 for $1.3 million, two years after buying it for $665,000.

Mr. Householder said he was attending a meeting of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators at Duck Key, about 30 miles southwest.

"I just dropped in," he said. "He didn't give me any money. He didn't spend anything on me. We just watched a ball game and ate pretzels."

Mr. Householder said after the game he returned to the insurance legislators' conference and did not need to disclose his visit to Mr. Noe's house because he didn't stay overnight or receive anything.
On one hand, that seems pretty innocent. On the other, it seems like Householder and Noe must have been in pretty close contact with each other to know they would be in the same part of Florida at the same time.

The Blade story is a great read beyond the Householder facts. Seems Brian Hicks was able to rent Noe's million-dollar retreat for a mere $100 a night, max, when similar properties were renting for $5,000 a week.
Mr. Hicks defended the rental agreement and said he did nothing wrong.

He said he did not disclose it to the Ohio Ethics Commission because he felt he paid market value for the stay.

Members of the executive branch must disclose the source of gifts if the value exceeds $75. They cannot accept gifts from people who have matters before that particular agency or who do business or are seeking to do business with that agency.
Personally, we hope Brian sticks to the line of argument. If that's the best he can come up with for the Blade, then the it makes it harder and harder for the Inspector General and the feds to sweep this under the rug.

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