Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Wednesday, September 13

Trial of Brokers Accused of Bribing BWC Chief to Start Sept 25

Here's the reaction of Ohio GOP spokesman John McClelland to yesterday's sentencing of Tom Noe, former Lucas County GOP Chairperson, Republican donor, and close friend to many top Republican officials (including especially State Auditor Betty Montgomery):
We believe that the media and the Democrats are the only people interested in Tom Noe. As soon as we learned that he deceived people, we began to distance ourselves from him. Right from the start.
That head-in-the-sand, "Tom Who?" strategy just got a little more difficult to carry off, however, with today's news that two investment brokers accused of bribing former Bureau of Workers Compensation chief financial officer Terry Gasper have rejected plea deals offered by federal prosecutors. That means that the brokers, Daniel O'Neil and Michael Lewis, will go to trial on September 25 before U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr. in Akron.

Funny how reality keeps getting in the way of Republican spin strategies. They may want to pretend that the growing Tom Noe/BWC/Coingate/MCOs scandal isn't news, but with this trial and Noe's trial in state court in Toledo in October it looks like the scandal will be on the front pages pretty much from now to election day.

The two brokers managed stock investments for the BWC while working at firms that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions from the agency. Gasper has already pleaded guilty to federal and state charges that he accepted bribes in exchange for doling out agency business and is expected to testify against O'Neil and Lewis.

Also yesterday, former BWC chief investment officer James McLean defended his ties to Chicago-based bureau broker Robert Rogoz, including shared meals described in frequent e-mails newly obtained by the Columbus Dispatch, one even thanking Rogoz for a night out on the town.

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