The state of Ohio continues to liquidate an expensive collection built by Tom Noe, the former head of the state’s workers compensation fund who was not managing it in a fashion that would make Warren Buffett happy.
Mastro Auctions and the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation struck a deal Monday to turn millions of dollars worth of sports, political and other memorabilia over to the Illinois auction house.
The collection of over 3,000 pieces included game-used items, autographs and historic non-sports and political pieces that were once purchased by Tom Noe, the man who used to run the fund for the state but was recently convicted of theft and other crimes. He was sentenced to prison and the state continues to try and recoup what prosecutors estimated was $13.7 million missing from the account.
Noe had been entrusted with $50 million of state money, which he poured into rare coins and other investments. Nearly all of the coins had been liquidated by this past summer.
Noe was a former Mastro customer and Ohio auditors claim he purchased over $1 million worth of items from the company with money stolen from the fund. After Noe’s 2006 conviction and sentencing, Mastro began attempting to win the right to re-acquire the items and sell them again.
Mastro President Doug Allen told the Associated Press the items purchased will be distributed among the company’s upcoming auctions. Among the sports items obtained in the deal were cuff links and a tie bar commemorating the 1964 Cleveland Browns championship, over 40 sets of basketball cards, some dating back to 1957, blueprints to Cleveland’s old League Park, a cracked Reggie Jackson game used bat and Mickey Mantle autographs. Pictures from inside a holding area earlier this year taken by a Columbus TV station showed numerous Hall of Famer autographed baseballs and bats as well.
Noe was a former Republican fundraiser and the "coingate" scandal played a strong role in the state’s election, with Democrats winning several offices including governor.
In addition to his conviction by the state, Noe received a sentence in federal court for illegally funneling $45,000 in contributions to President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.
Slideshow of items held by state of Ohio from WBNS-TV