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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Missing Coins in Ohio

Auditors are saying at least 7 million dollars worth of coins are missing in Ohio that had supposedly bought by a govt. agency as a way of investing. Here is the Toldedo Blade link and article.


COLUMBUS - Auditors reviewing the inventory of Tom Noe's $50 million state-funded rare-coin venture in September reported to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that nearly $7 million worth of coins could not be observed because they were "not on site," according to complete copies of the inventory released last night.

It is unclear why the bureau took no action to verify the existence of the "off-site" coins.
Bureau spokesman Jeremy Jackson did not return a call seeking comment last night. Mr. Noe also did not return a message.

Because when it comes to taxpayer money, bureaucrats think its like monopoly money. You know the saying "A million(or billion) here, A million there, and soon we're talking real money."

The Ohio Attorney General's Office, on behalf of the bureau, last night released complete and unredacted copies of the inventories of Mr. Noe's state-funded coin ventures to The Blade.
The newspaper sued the bureau in the Ohio Supreme Court for the documentation earlier this month after bureau officials refused to release complete records, saying the records could reveal trade secrets.

The bureau released the records a day after the Maumee coin dealer's lawyers acknowledged that $10 million to $12 million of the state's assets had been misappropriated from the Noe coin funds.

"Given recent developments and findings with respect to the inaccuracy of holdings of Capital Coin Funds One and Two," Deputy Attorney General Audra Osmena DeVictor wrote, "any argument that the funds may have had in that such inventories contain trade secrets the release of which would significantly reduce the value of the coins has been greatly diminished."

Can I anyone explain to me why the State of Ohio is investing in rare coins rather than something else? Besides the obvious connection between Mr. Noe and the Ohio State GOP that is.

The inventories contained hundreds of pages listing coins, their grades, values, and serial numbers. The audit did not include Mr. Noe's other investments with state money, which the bureau has said included loans, mortgages, and collectibles such as trading cards, paintings, and autographs.Coins listed in the inventory ranged from an 1891 10-cent piece valued at $11 to a 1907 $20 coin valued at $1.7 million. Hundreds of coins listed were valued at more than $1,000.The audits, conducted by Plante & Moran and Doyle & McDonnell in June and reported back to the bureau in September, noted that about 20 percent of the coins held in both Capital Coin Funds could not be observed because they were off site.

According to the procedures noted in the audit, "For coins/packages listed but not on site for inspection, we performed no further procedures to verify the existence of the coin/packages." Coins said to be not on site "can include coins located at a grading company, coins located at a customer's location pending approval, coins out on consignment, etc," the auditors wrote.

The bureau told The Blade for weeks that Mr. Noe had turned over $13.3 million in investment returns since 1998. But they acknowledged two weeks ago that Mr. Noe was allowed to reinvest $5.4 million of the state's share of the reported returns, expanding Ohio's investment in the Noe coin funds to $55.4 million.

It wouldn't surprise me if these coins never existed at all and Noe pocketed the money.

This scandal is rocking Ohio politics at the moment. Democrats are already gloating with reason, but I just question how much harm this will really d o. Most state legislative seats are so gerrymandered that few are in play every election. At least that is the way it is in Florida. If the Ohio Governor is smart, he will be totally transparent about this affair. Stay tuned.

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