Noe’s rise to power started at BGSU

By now it is clear to all that Tom Noe has a long history of questionable behavior.

Yesterday he was indicted for violating campaign contribution laws.

His involvement in the $50 million coin investment of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation monies resulted in an ongoing audit by the Attorney General.

And, almost ten years ago, he was forced to testify in front of the BGSU president for questionable ethics while he was on the Board of Trustees at the University.

This is a testament to the importance of the free and vigilante press who uncovered these abuses. The Toledo Press investigated first, and legal action by the government followed.

The watchdog role of the press is just as important as ever before. Tom Noe was able to continue in official and powerful public roles for years before his wrongdoings were discovered.

He was accused in 1996 of using his position on the BGSU Board of Trustees to influence the athletic director to hire his wife as an athletic fund-raiser. Yet, in 1999 he was reinstated to the Ohio Board of Regents by Governor George Voinovich.

Was his past questioned at all? Did the political machine even consider his questionable ethics?

Even his initial appointment to the BGSU Board was under questionable conditions. Some think he was chosen for his ability to contribute through political fund raising.

Whether or not that is true is irrelevant. What is relevant is that a man like Tom Noe was able to effectively work his way into the system.

Somewhere along his rise to a position of power one would think his lack of character and ethics would have become apparent. The red flag should have gone up years ago, but power breeds arrogance, and the political machine is very much about power. This is why there needs to be checks on that power.

In the Tom Noe scandal, that check was the Toledo Blade. There are checks and balances within government, but unfortunately those checks are carried out by fallible humans are sometimes too busy trying to protect their own power.

No matter how much the public enjoys bad-mouthing the press, without it, Tom Noe may still be quietly embezzling his millions.

It is impossible to ensure that more Tom Noe-like characters will not slip into the system to try to abuse their power. But, when the press is doing its job, shady politicians should beware that their power will not go unchecked.