Toledo Blade - Supreme Court puts Petro on notice

Saturday, July 30, 2005

(Toledo Blade)Supreme Court puts Petro on notice Facing possible contempt citation, official must explain failure to release coin data BLADE STAFF COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court gave Attorney General Jim Petro until Monday to explain why he should not be held in contempt of court for not releasing records to The Blade. The Blade asked the Supreme Court yesterday to enforce its July 13 order that ruled the state must release transaction and business records from Tom Noe's now shuttered coin funds. Since the court ruled, the state has only released three of an estimated 120 boxes that the attorney general controls. The court gave the state until 5 p.m. on Monday to show "why they should not be held in contempt for failure to comply, for sanctions, for the appointment of a receiver, and for other ancillary relief." The slow pace of the records release prompted The Blade to ask the court to find the state in contempt and order that the documents be made public. A Blade attorney asked the court to appoint a third party to take control of the records. The Blade asked the court to impose monetary sanctions against the attorney general's office and "coercive monetary sanctions" until the court's order is complied with. In May, The Blade asked the court to order the bureau to provide access to uncensored audit reports of the coin inventories and records documenting transactions of the two rare-coin funds. Mr. Noe created the funds to handle the infusion of $50 million in state money from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. The bureau was considering giving Mr. Noe another $25 million just before the first stories appeared in The Blade on April 3. On May 26, state officials announced they were pursuing civil and criminal measures against Mr. Noe after his attorney informed authorities that up to $13 million is missing from the rare-coin investment. The court ruled 5-2 on July 13 that the business records of Mr. Noe's Capital Coin funds are public records and should be made available. Kim Norris, a spokesman for Mr. Petro, did not return a call yesterday seeking comment. A day earlier, she had said that the attorney general was complying with the court's order and that the office was reviewing records before they were released.


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