975Ohio governor charged with four misdemeanors
- Aug 17 4:20 PMhttp://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyID=2005-08-17T220842Z_01_HO779725_RTRIDST_0_POLITICS-CRIME-OHIO-GOVERNOR-DC.XML
Ohio gov. charged with criminal misdemeanors
Wed Aug 17, 2005 6:09 PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Ohio charged
Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday with four criminal
misdemeanor counts alleging violations of state ethics
laws for not reporting golf games and other outings
paid for by others.
The charges marked the first time an Ohio governor has
been charged with a crime while in office. A Taft
spokesman said the governor would not resign and would
have a statement on Thursday.
The charges against the Republican governor also
marked another step in a still-unfolding scandal
dubbed "Coingate" that involves $13 million in missing
state funds and a top Ohio Republican fund-raiser.
Stephen McIntosh, chief prosecutor for the Columbus
city attorney, said most of the outings involved golf
but also included meals and tickets to see the
Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team.
The undeclared amounts totaled a little less than
$6,000, McIntosh said. The governor subsequently
notified state ethics commission officials about the
outings that had been omitted in previous filings of
yearly disclosure forms. McIntosh said the governor is
required to report gifts or benefits of $75 or more.
Prosecutors were asking that Taft appear in court on
Thursday morning, though if he chooses to enter a not
guilty plea only his lawyer would have to be present,
If found guilty, he faces fines of $1,000 and six
months in jail on each count, though jail time was
McIntosh said the probe of Taft grew out of an
investigation into fund-raiser Tom Noe and the state's
Bureau of Workers Compensation.
Last month, Taft's former chief of staff was found
guilty of violating ethics laws by not disclosing
gifts from Noe, who is at the heart of the Coingate
Noe was a rare coin dealer who allegedly mismanaged a
$50 million state investment in rare coins. Noe's
attorney has said $13 million was missing from the
investment made for Ohio's Bureau of Worker's
Compensation, a $15 billion fund that makes payments
to disabled workers.
Gov. Taft's father and grandfather both served in the
U.S. Senate and his great-grandfather, William Howard
Taft, was the 27th U.S. president, as well as chief
justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
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