Injured Workers, Beanie Babies and Corruption, OH Noe!

For nearly a decade, top right-wing campaign fundraiser Thomas Noe has called the shots in Ohio politics. Today, he’s under “at least six investigations or audits” involving shady investments and corrupt campaign fundraising. In one remarkable case, Noe convinced the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Bureau to invest $50 million of state money in a rare coin fund he owned.

Last month, Noe said the funds were in great shape, making lots of money for the state. Whoops. Today, Noe’s lawyers admitted as much as $13 million of the fund’s assets are simply missing.

Where’s the money? Well, some was tied up in a coin bought with state cash for $122,990 and sold … for a penny. Then there are the coins Noe claims were “lost in the mail.” Then there’s the felon convicted of laundering drug money Noe hired who promptly used the state ‘s money to pay off some of his personal debt. (The state ate $850,000 on that one.)

Trying to account for the rest of the state’s “investment,” officials spent last week seizing other “collectable investments” from Noe’s shop. They say many of the seized items may in fact have been purchased with part of the state’s $50 million (thought they couldn’t say exactly which ones). Here’s a look at a few of the seized items: George W. Bush wall clocks. A Lance Armstrong jersey. Tickets from the 1980 Olympics “Miracle on Ice”. And don’t forget that solid rock of all investment strategies: Eighteen Beanie Babies (R).