COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich has asked the state Parole Board to hold a hearing on a clemency request for a former Toledo-area coin dealer who raised money for Ohio Republicans before being convicted in a state investment scandal that also ensnared a former governor.
The Blade reports that the board did not hold a hearing or interview Tom Noe when it unanimously recommended against leniency for him last month.
“The governor has a record of pushing for careful consideration of complex cases, and he hopes that will take place in this situation as well,” Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling told The Blade.
The board's recommendation last month said that after carefully considering the application and all supporting documentation, it was noted by the board that “the offense is serious in nature and the applicant's sentence is not disparate.”
“In the judgment of the parole board, neither the grounds set forth in the application nor facts disclosed by way of our inquiry warrant the exercise of clemency at this time,” the board's June report stated.
In clemency hearings, the parole board hears from attorneys and witnesses on both sides and can hear from the inmate before making a recommendation to the governor.
Noe was convicted in 2006 for stealing a $50 million rare-coin fund he oversaw for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the government-run insurance fund for injured workers. Prosecutors said Noe used his political influence to get the unusual investment deal. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Noe's ex-wife, Bernadette Restivo, says Noe is “cautiously optimistic” about the hearing she says has been set for Oct. 4.
Board offices were closed Sunday. A message seeking comment on behalf of the board was left Sunday for a spokeswoman from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
The board also unanimously recommended against Noe's first request for clemency three years ago. The governor agreed with the board then. Restivo urged Kasich to look beyond the board's recommendation this time.
Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates, a Democrat whose office prosecuted Noe, had not been notified of the hearing. She said based on his conviction and judgment, Noe owes the state $13 million.
“Where is the money, and what is his plan for restitution?” Bates asked. "Those are the only two issues never addressed in his petition for clemency, and I would think the answers would be very relevant as to whether he is granted clemency.