Remember Coingate?? Remember how then-Senator Marc Dann criticized Tom Charles’ slow response to investigate Coingate in 2005?? Remember how quick Thomas Charles in 2008?moved to raid the office of Attorney General Marc Dann, seizing countless cell phones, file cabinets, and computers, leaving the office with virtually no ability for key staff to do any work?? Remember how quickly it took Tom Charles to complete his investigation on Marc Dann? (Eight months).
The Ohio Inspector General’s office announced in April 2005 that it was opening an investigation into Coingate.? In that time, Charles asked to the telephone records of Taft aides who reportedly received unreported gifts from Tom Noe and asked to see the coin collection Noe was “managing” for the State.? And that is the first, and only, public evidence that the Ohio Inspector General has conducted any investigation on Coingate.
Although Thomas Charles has never taken more than?a typically year on any investigation he’s done, the Ohio Inspector General’s office has never issued a report on Coingate.? FIVE YEARS LATER, and if you ask the Inspector General for information about it’s Coingate investigation, you’re told that its records aren’t public records because the investigation is “ongoing”– despite the fact that federal and state prosecutions of the key figures in Coingate have long sense concluded.
Thomas Charles has made no public statements as to when, if ever, he plans on issuing an investigation he began five years ago.? His office has given no public explanation as to why it has not issued a report or that it ever expects to conclude its “investigation.”
If the Inspector General is still actively conducting an investigation, there’s no outward sign of it.
According to a number of current and former state legislators, Tom Noe has informed them that neither he, nor any representative of his, has ever been contacted, let alone been interviewed, by the Ohio Inspector General’s Office.
Five years later, and Thomas Charles’ office apparently hasn’t even tried to talk to Tom Noe about Coingate.? I mean, it’s not like Noe hasn’t demonstrated that he’s willing to be openly available to interviews with the Columbus Dispatch or anything.
Maybe it’s because it appears from a cursory review of Charles’ website, there seems to have been an amazing explosion of investigtions by the Inspector General the moment Ted Strickland became Governor which makes the lack of reports during Coingate and the other Taft Administration ethics cases curious.
But five years later, Tom Noe sits in an Ohio state prison serving an eighteen year sentence.? Maybe Charles is waiting for Noe to get out, first?
Regardless, Charles’ insistence that he’s still conducting an investigation to avoid releasing documents to the public while going five years without even trying to talk to Tom Noe is all you need to know about this man’s professionalism.? His last two annual reports make no mention of the Coingate investigation at all.
When Governor Strickland was asked to reappoint Thomas Charles as Inspector General, the Toledo Blade, state and federal prosecutors said that Charles reappointment would “accentuate the obligation state and federal officials have to press ahead strongly with investigations of corruption at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.??(Editorial, Toledo Blade, 1/25/07).
That was over three years ago.? How long would have taken had Strickland appointed someone else instead?? Would a new Inspector General gone this long without talking to Tom Noe?? Really?