Friday, February 24, 2006

Culture of Corruption: Ex-Aides to Ohio Gov. Plead No Contest

Former Aides to Ohio Gov. Taft Plead No Contest to Ethics Law Violations

COLUMBUS, Ohio Feb 24, 2006 (AP)— Two former aides to Gov. Bob Taft pleaded no contest Friday to ethics law violations alleging they failed to report loans from the coin dealer at the center of Ohio's corruption scandal.

Doug Moormann and Douglas Talbott were the third and fourth former Taft aides to face charges as a result of their relationship with Tom Noe, a prominent Republican fundraiser who managed a controversial state investment in rare coins.

Taft and two other administration members pleaded no contest last year to similar charges of violating ethics laws.

Noe, 51, was accused in a recent 53-count indictment of embezzling at least $1 million from the investment and has pleaded not guilty. A state auditor's report this week said he funneled state money into his own businesses starting on the day in 1998 that he received the first of two $25 million investments from the state insurance fund for injured workers.

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