July 29, 2005
Ohio governor’s ex-aide guilty of accepting gifts
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Ohio Gov. Bob Taft's former
chief of staff was found guilty on Friday of violating ethics
laws by not disclosing gifts from a Republican fund-raiser
embroiled in "Coingate," a scandal over a missing $13 million
in state funds.
Brian Hicks, 40, who became a lobbyist when he left
government two years ago, pleaded no contest and was fined
$1,000 for the misdemeanor ethics violation by Franklin County
Municipal Court Judge Scott VanDerKarr.
not disclose two vacations at a luxury Florida Keys home for
which he underpaid fund-raiser and rare coin dealer Tom Noe.
Hicks' former secretary, Cherie Carroll, was also fined
$1,000 for accepting dinners from Noe.
The criminal charges were the first in the developing
scandal -- dubbed Coingate -- focused on Noe.
Noe is a top fund-raiser for several Republican
officeholders including Taft and President Bush, whose victory
in Ohio carried him to re-election in 2004. Investigators are
looking into whether Noe illegally repaid political donors to
He also allegedly mismanaged a $50 million investment in
rare coins. Noe's attorney has said $13 million is missing from
the coin investment, and the state's attorney general has said
Noe took $4 million from the Ohio Bureau of Workers'
Taft is being investigated by a state ethics commission for
accepting golf outings from Noe.