GOP troubles not over yet

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Legal troubles aren’t over for a former GOP fundraiser convicted of stealing $2 million from a state investment in rare coins, and other people caught up in Ohio’s government scandal may yet face charges.

Tom Noe, whose woes played a big role in the Republican party’s Election Day defeat, was found guilty Monday of theft, corrupt activity, money laundering, forgery and tampering with records. He faces a mandatory 10 years in prison.

With the verdict in, Attorney General Jim Petro will now renew efforts through a civil lawsuit to seek at least $4 million that Petro charges Noe took from the coin investment for personal use, Petro spokesman Mark Anthony said yesterday.

Petro sued Noe last year, accusing him of creating a financial ruse in which he disguised portions of a $50 million investment in rare coins from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation as profits on that investment.

The company selling off the coin funds still hopes to recoup more than the state’s original $50 million investment once the entire collection of coins, collectibles like historical postcards and some stock shares are sold, Bill Brandt, president of Chicago-based Development Specialists Inc., said yesterday.

The company is about to turn over an additional $15 million to the state. Combined with previous sales, and adding about $7 million that Brandt said Noe wrongly claimed was profit, the state will have about $42 million of the investment.