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BG 4 Corners News & Views for Ohio’s Cradle of Education

Common Sense Where Main Meets Wooster         Bowling Green, Ohio          Vol. 1, No. 11  March, 2006

Noes Gave BGSU $17,350

Ribeau Urged To Return Disputed Money     

Bowling Green native Tom Noe and his wife Bernadette contributed $17,350 to the Bowling Green State University Foundation during the time that Tom Noe was investing $50 million of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation money in coin funds, records show.

            Many politicians, including President Bush, returned contributions from the Noes that were received after March 31, 1998, the date Tom Noe received his first $25 million to invest in coins from the BWC. The Republicans reportedly returned the money because of allegations that money was in essence state investment funds rather than money earned by Tom Noe.

BGSU President Sidney Ribeau should return the money as “tainted” and restore the BGSU Foundation’s reputation.     

            Tom Noe is facing criminal charges filed by a federal prosecutor in October 2005 and a 53-count indictment issued by a county grand jury in February 2006.

            The 3-count federal indictment charged that Noe illegally saw that $45,000 was donated to President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. Noe allegedly gave money to other people who in turn contributed it to Bush’s campaign through Noe to get around the $2,000 individual limit.

            The 53-count indictment by a county grand jury alleged that Noe stole more than $3 million of the coin funds he invested for BWC and alleged both laundering and racketeering.

            It has been alleged from various government and law enforcement sources that Noe may have lost as much as $13 million of the BWC’s money between March 31, 1998, when he received the first $25 million and May 2005.

            Noe continues under investigation by law enforcement authorities and prosecutors.

            The extent of  Noe’s financial contributions to the BGSU Foundation since he began investing State of Ohio money in 1998 has gone largely unreported despite the Pulitzer Prize- quality investigative reporting by the Toledo Blade. The Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune ignored the story about Bowling Green native Noe for several weeks and continues to downplay its coverage. So much for a local newspaper covering a local story.

            In order to provide Bowling Green readers the unreported facts, BG 4 Corners News & Views obtained the details of contributions by former BGSU trustee Noe since 1998 to BGSU.

            An Ohio Public Records Act request under Ohio Revised Code Section 149.43 was made to Sidney Ribeau, president of BGSU, on Dec. 3, 2005. Three weeks later a response from Thomas A. Trimboli, general counsel, was received. He provided some documents and but stated in his letter that he did so out of courtesy not legal obligation.

            Why is this information important?

            It is important because BGSU should not be apparently benefiting from what may be “tainted” money. BGSU should return the money to the BWC to help replace the millions the bureau apparently has lost, regardless of the outcome of the criminal proceedings against Tom Noe. BGSU should be a good public citizen and return the money.

            I emailed counsel Trimboli on March 10 to ask if the BGSU Foundation had returned the Noe contributions or planned to do so in the future. As of March 20, I had no response.

            Regardless of how the July 24 and Aug. 29 trials of Tom Noe turn out, BGSU’s reputation appears to have been damaged by association. President Sidney Ribeau should end all ties between the university and the Noes and remove all references to them in BGSU materials. The reputation of BGSU and the esteem that thousands hold for it are too important.  (OVER.)

 

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Here is the list of contributions by either or both Noes to the BGSU Foundation:

Nov. 17, 1998: 100 baseball holders to the Athletic Department

       June 19, 2000: $625 to the College of Musical Arts Dean’s Council

       July 16, 2000: $100 to the Don Cunningham Memorial

July 20, 2000: $500 to Men’s Basketball International Travel 

July 24, 2000: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation

Oct. 29, 2000: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation

Nov. 13, 2000: $90 to Men’s Tennis

Jan. 16, 2001: $1,540 to Noe Scholarship

Feb. 19, 2001: $100 to Women’s Tennis

April 18, 2001: $375 to Ice Hockey and Men’s Basketball Fund

May 7, 2001: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

May 24, 2001: $625 to College of Musical Arts Dean’s Council Fund

May 30, 2001: $450 to Falcon Club

Aug. 7, 2001: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

Sept. 13, 2001: $100 to Albert E. Dyckes Health Scholarship

Oct. 11, 2001: $250 to Men’s Tennis Fund

Nov. 2, 2001: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

Feb. 13, 2002: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

April 8, 2002: $200 to Ice Hockey Fund

April 10, 2002: $200 to Men’s Basketball Fund

April 29, 2002: $880 to Football Fund

May 26, 2002: $625 to College of Musical Arts Dean’s Council Fund, Noe          Scholarship

June 3, 2002: $250 to Kerm Stroh Scholarship

June 9, 2002: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

Aug. 5, 2002: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

Oct. 15, 2002: $200 to Men’s Basketball Fund

Jan. 29, 2003: $1,000 to Hockey Renovation Fund

April 1, 2003: $200 to Men’s Basketball Fund

May 2, 2003: $1,040 to Hockey Renovation Fund and Ice Hockey Fund

No additional records of contributions were supplied. A copy of an email of June 30, 2003, discussing allocation of the Noes’ donations was included. An Aug. 20, 2003, letter to the Noes included two President’s Club parking decals and an invitation to visit President Ribeau’s Box during football games.

An Oct. 18, 2005, letter from BGSU was included reminding Tom Noe that a life insurance premium of $250 was due for his policy that has BGSU as his beneficiary.

BGSU Foundation annual reports of 2004-05 and 2003-04 list Tom and Bernadette Noe as members of the Founders Society, described as a giving level of $50,000 to $99,999. The Noes are mentioned elsewhere in the two reports suggesting that their donations and life insurance payments continued after May 2, 2003, but no records were supplied by BGSU.

A total of $13,485 or 78 percent was donated to athletics-related funds while $3,865 or 22 percent went to academics-related funds of the $17,350 total. In other words, a fraction of the total went to benefit the educational mission of Bowling Green State University.

Interestingly, many of the letters to the Noes were authored by Marcia Sloan Latta, associate vice president university advancement and director of development. She is the wife of Robert Latta, the Republican State Representative from Bowling Green. She certainly knows that Rep. Latta’s fellow Republicans have returned the Noes’ donations in fear that Tom Noe will be convicted and the money legally will have been tainted.

(Sources: The Toledo Blade, the Associated Press and the Columbus Dispatch)

-- John K. Hartman, editor and publisher.

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BG 4 Corners News & Views of Bowling Green was founded June 1, 2005 by John K. Hartman, its publisher. Its purpose is to provide additional news and points-of-view to citizens of Bowling Green in the belief that thorough awareness of and discussion of issues makes for a better community. It will be available free at various drop-off points in Bowling Green and by email by sending your email address and request to John.Hartman@dacor.net. Patrons may support 4 Corners News & Views for $10 per issue. Ads may be purchased for $20 per issue.  Comments and submissions are welcome.   Contact information: John.Hartman@dacor.net ; 419-352-8180; 1400 Wren Road, BG, OH 43402. Back issues at www.liberalbg.org                                                         Copyright 2006, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved.