Friday, May 27, 2005


What to watch on Coingate next week

Friday's news offers some clues about what and when the next develoments will be in the Noe/GOP affair.

First, we have to acknowledge the excellent job the Drew Crew (Blade writers Jim Drew, Mike Wilkinson, Steve Eder) are continuing to do on this story. The Dispatch is providing nothing new.

Our expectation is that the Sandy Theis' team at the Plain Dealer - who have been hot on the Larry Householder trail - are continuing to focus on that angle and that they will eventually cross paths with the Drew Crew.

So, we had Franklin Co. Prosecutor Ron O'Brian making these statements:
“I have reason to believe it is more than just missing assets or lost assets or otherwise,” said Mr. O’Brien, a Republican. “I have reason to believe there is actual misappropriation of state funds involved ... I’m talking about conversion for personal use.”

It is unclear whether Mr. Noe used some of the state’s money to make contributions to Republican candidates, including President Bush’s re-election campaign, Mr. O’Brien said.

[. . . ]

Mr. O’Brien said he didn’t have details of the alleged misappropriation, but he confirmed it involved money provided by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to Mr. Noe’s Capital Coin funds.

[. . . ]

Asked where the state’s money went, Mr. O’Brien replied: “I don’t know the answers to that question. The search warrant might partly answer that.”
Those are pretty ballsy assertions from O'Brien, himself a Republican. We think he understands the gravity of making such statements if you don't have something strong to back them up.

Interestingly, nobody - including Noe's attorneys - seem to be directly denying what O'Brien said.
Jon Richardson, who is representing Mr. Noe regarding the federal investigation, said he has not been contacted regarding the criminal allegations made by Mr. O’Brien.
Later in the same story comes some news about the campaign contributions wing of the Noe affair:
A federal grand jury is expected to begin hearing from witnesses Wednesday. The U.S. attorney’s office has acknowledged that it is investigating Mr. Noe and law enforcement sources have said it centers on contributions made to a Bush-Cheney fund-raiser in October, 2003, at which Mr. Noe sponsored a table.

[. . .]

Sam Thurber, husband of Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, said last night that he has been called to testify before the grand jury. He spoke briefly outside a fund-raiser for Betty Shultz, an at-large Toledo city council member.

Mr. Thurber, Ms. Thurber, and Ms. Shultz donated to the Bush-Cheney campaign at the time, although the Thurbers each contributed $1,950, records show.
Look, this is pretty simple stuff. The prosecutor seizes Noe's bank records. He sees checks written to the two Thurbers and Ms. Shultz for $2,000. He tells them to keep $50 for parking and expenses, but buy tickets for the fundraiser with the balance. You bring the three of them before a grand jury and ask them why they suddenly had checks from Noe.

Wednesday's testimony will probably be along the same lines. Let the fun begin!


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