Larry Kaczala knew not to take Tom Noe's money, but why did WSPD's Maggie Thurber decide to?

A week before former President George W. Bush was to come to Columbus for a fund-raiser in October, 2003, Tom Noe invited Larry Kaczala to meet him for breakfast at the Toledo Club.

Noe, a top fund-raiser for the Bush campaign, had an agenda for his meeting with Mr. Kaczala, who then was the Lucas County auditor and the county government's only Republican officeholder:

The former GOP power broker wanted Mr. Kaczala to help him make illegal contributions to the Bush campaign.
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Mr. Kaczala, now a consultant, decided recently to go on the record to explain why he didn't take Noe's money and how Noe betrayed his friends and the Republican Party.

He came forward after the Federal Elections Commission fined several current and former local Republican officeholders for taking Noe's cash and funneling illegal contributions to Mr. Bush.

Noe, in his ambition to join the ranks of the Bush "Pioneers"- an elite group of a fund-raisers who collected more than $100,000 each for the former president's 2004 re-election campaign - had similar meetings as he actively recruited friends, political allies, public officeholders, lobbyists, and others to join his network of illegal "conduits."
In September, 2006, Noe pleaded guilty to using 24 conduits to make $45,500 in illegalcontributions to the Bush campaign, landing him in federal prison for nearly two years.

The conduits - a list that included Toledo Councilman Betty Shultz, former Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, former state Rep. Sally Perz, and former Toledo Mayor Donna Owens - never faced jail time for their involvement, although some were convicted of misdemeanors and were punished by the Federal Election Commission with hefty fines.

Mr. Kaczala, though, was not charged because there was no evidence that he accepted Noe's money.

In an interview with The Blade, Mr. Kaczala explained how Noe asked him to attend the Bush fund-raiser at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus on Oct. 30, 2003, by convincing him that it would be good for his upcoming congressional campaign.

Mr. Kaczala said he grudgingly agreed to pay $4,000 for tickets for himself and his wife.

But later in the conversation, Mr. Kaczala said, Noe jokingly asked if he owed the auditor's wife, Gina, $3,900.

"I said, 'I'm quite sure you don't, Tom. Let's move on," Mr. Kaczala recalled, adding that as a politician, it wasn't uncommon to have people ask for favors in jest. "You sort of laugh it off and say, 'That's funny.' I didn't think anything about it."
'I was stunned'

Mr. Kaczala, in his interview with The Blade, said he didn't give much thought to the breakfast conversation until 2005, when federal investigators told him they were probing Noe's political contributions as part of a wide-ranging state and federal investigation.

Noe was later sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for making illegal campaign contributions to the former president.

Separately, Noe, the former chairman of the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Turnpike Commission, is serving 18 years in state prison for stealing more than $13 million from a $50 million rare-coin fund he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

The scandal surrounding Noe and the bureau - kicked off by a series of stories in The Blade beginning in April, 2005 - led to nearly 20 criminal convictions, including that of former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft on ethics charges.

As FBI agents looked into Noe's conduit scheme, they interviewed Mr. Kaczala and his wife at the auditor's office in Toledo. In the interview, Mr. Kaczala learned Noe's check register reflected a $3,900 check payable to Gina Kaczala on the date of the Toledo Club breakfast.

The agents, Mr. Kaczala said, told him that the check was never cashed.

"I was at a loss for words," Mr. Kaczala said. "I was stunned."

He added, "He wasn't just going to get me in trouble, but he was going to get us both in trouble."
Donations or payback?

Joe Kidd, a former director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, a former rival of Mr. Kaczala and one of the 24 Noe conduits, said Mr. Kaczala's recent recollections clash with statements he made when the investigation became public.

In April, 2005, for example, Mr. Kaczala dismissed the federal investigation publicly, saying "it just doesn't make any sense."

"This investigation stems from a rumor that's a year old, that Noe gave a Lucas County official money to donate to the presidential campaign," Mr. Kaczala told WTOL-TV, Channel 11.

"But the money was actually a loan used to renovate a family business. This probe is happening now because 2004 campaign finance reports are being audited."

Mr. Kidd said, "It stretches all credibility to say that everyone who went to this fund-raiser at the request of Tom Noe got paid back in some form or fashion, but that Larry did not."

Public records do establish that Noe and his wife, Bernadette, contributed a total of $6,000 to Mr. Kaczala's unsuccessful 2004 congressional campaign.

The couple first contributed a total of $4,000 on Sept. 25, 2003, about a month before Tom Noe's breakfast with Mr. Kaczala.

The Noes donated the final $2,000 in June, 2004.

But Mr. Kaczala denied having any discussions with Noe about trading the donation to the Bush-Cheney event for donations to his campaign fund - although he said that he had expected contributions from the Noes, considering their roles with the county party and his attendance at the fund-raiser in Columbus.

"I spent $4,000 on that fund-raiser in Columbus - he better have given me the [contributions]," Mr. Kaczala said.

Mr. Kidd said the Noes' contributions to the Kaczala campaign amount to a payback.

"It just so happened that his payback was through the campaign rather than personally," Mr. Kidd said. "That may have been a wise decision on Larry's part, but I don't think it makes a difference."
Conduit consequences

Mr. Kaczala's decision to dismiss Noe's overture saved him a great deal of pain.

Documents recently released by the Federal Elections Commission showed the turmoil caused by the conduit scandal derailed political careers and caused embarrassment and financial stress for those identified.

The Noe scandal put Ms. Thurber and her husband, Sam Thurber, in financial jeopardy, according to a response filed with the commission.

"His wife's political career is over," wrote Robert Kelner, an attorney for Mr. Thurber, in 2007.

Mr. Kelner said Mr. Thurber was finding it difficult to attract work in the Toledo area for his recently launched engineering consulting business because of the attention to the scandal, and the Thurbers had taken out a mortgage on their home to finance Ms. Thurber's political campaigns.

"They now have no prospect of recovering any of this money," wrote Mr. Kelner.

Still, the Thurbers were each fined $9,000 for accepting a $3,750 check from Noe.

Ms. Thurber declined to comment for this story.

Councilman Shultz, in her response to the FEC, said her fines, legal fees, and costs related to the investigation cost her $20,000. For her role in the conduit scheme, the FEC fined Ms. Shultz $1,500 because she demonstrated financial hardship. Ms. Schultz declined to comment.

Ms. Owens, in her response to the FEC, explained how both of her parents died in 2003 and how she was in a serious car accident around the time of the Bush-Cheney fund-raiser.

"My interest in politics was minimal," wrote Ms. Owens, who claimed she was duped by Noe. She was fined $9,000 by the FEC after receiving $1,900 from Noe. Ms. Owens did not return a message seeking comment for this story.

Ms. Perz was fined $7,000.
Sense of betrayal

In their FEC responses, many of the conduits explained that they didn't know they were breaking the law accepting money from Noe.

David Freel, executive director of the Ohio Ethics Commission and a member of the task force that investigated Noe, said some of the conduits, especially the ones who held public office, should have known better.

"The commission believed they knew what they were doing and that they knew in their various public capacities that these donations should have been handled in a different way and should have been transparent," Mr. Freel said.

Of the 24 conduits, only four - Ms. Owens, Ms. Perz, Ms. Shultz, and Ms. Thurber - were convicted of state-level crimes.

The four women were convicted on ethics violations for failing to report the money they received from Noe on their state ethics filings, a requirement of public officials in Ohio.

Considering how the scandal affected the Noe conduits, many of whom cooperated with federal investigators under agreements that they wouldn't be prosecuted, Mr. Kaczala acknowledged that he is fortunate he didn't join in Noe's scheme.

"Thank God I knew better [than to take the money]," Mr. Kaczala said.

In 2006, Mr. Kaczala lost his re-election bid for county auditor as Republicans surrendered their grip on the state amid the turmoil caused by the Noe scandal.

"I hold them responsible," Mr. Kaczala said. "They betrayed everybody."

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Noe,et al. None though, on the HUGE, profit he made for the state !! I ,suggested to the story teller ,that there are many other criminals and their , surrogates to write about, that have done alot more to kill, mame, steal, threaten and etc.,America/Ohio, than he did !! For example: what political party in America is wholly and completely responsible for and, who gets 100% of votes from , the following GANGS !! The Ku Klux Klan, Bloods, Crips, MS 13, F.A.L.N., Black Panthers, Black Liberation Army, LA Cosa Nostra, Defenders of Allah ( I personally LOVE, these cowards ),Weather Underground...and the more than 385 criminals gangs the State Department monitors, are all from ,( for 385 swamp bubble points), the same political party that has a former Ku Klux Klan , member as a 'very distinguished Senator", is... are you ready for some TWOOF ??.... no respect intended....the DEMONRAT party !! Of course, who else LOVES criminals but, Dims. Who LOVES ,killers of innocents, unborn and born alive...who coddles dictators...who steals money from the productive , to give to the genetically, lazy... it is and, always will be the DIMBULBS-o-rats !!

I'm thinking your site has sprung a leak.

I'm hearing nothing but hot air emanating from this poster.

this leftist, Pavlov's' dog ,is drooling. Bring him some' Hopian and change' ,dog bones to swallow !! No answers as usual, just vituperation from a heathen whose weapons are ONE...ie. whining like a indignant whore, who wasn't paid, after an unworthy attempt at pleasing a client.Hey, what political party does the top felons, in America, vote for, overwhelmingly !! Murderers, kidnappers, rapists, armed theft, armed burglary,armed assaults, are ALL , committed by one party, BIG TIME, over the other...which America political party is the criminals best friend ??!! For 385 , swamp bubbles dog-bones, what is the answer ??!! This one is way too easy, even for apologists, for the resident beheaders best friend at the Toledo Blade. HINT: it is the same party of a Ku Klux Klan , KLEAGLE, from W. Virginia, Senator - - - -, rhymes with herd....thats it DEMONRATS ...BIG TIME !!

choke on this bone.

{s zipper

word around town is your've overstayed your welcome in the public bathrooms, so work me like the frothy pig that you are.

unless, of course, you want to put your wife up to the task.

been a while since I've been gummed.

as you defile yourself in a public forum , which political party is giving $ 4 TRILLION , to multi-millionaire- Demonrats ,who cannot run , 1) auto companies,2) insurance companies,3) banks,profitability,and YOU , via your vote for socialists ,lap it up like the drooler you are ?! This transfer of money, from the productive , to the losers in their fields, is EXACTLY, what FDR, did, to PROLONG the depression by 9 years !! Anything ,less than the value of your existence,worthy of responding to there, heh? ! CAPITIOL FORMATION, have any thoughts on this topic, you weepy, whiny,microbe? Didn't think so.Get ready for the ride of your miserable ECONOMIC life with B.O., and the socialist onslaught brought on by LOSERS ! No respect , intended !!

lol

blah blah blah yap yap yap blah blah blah

and that makes more sense than you do.

George Bush, a REPUBLICAN, authorized $350 billion dollars to be released to banks (cronies) with no stipulations before he left office. None. And the banks are holding onto the money.

At least Barack is putting rules on his offering, dipshit.

show me some links to back your ignorant rantings.

you can't

sooooo just shut the fuck up until you can provide credible information to collaberate your jibberish..

Barack is actually trying to regulate this mess created by greedy right-wing CEOs.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/27/obama-officials-tells-cit_n_161...

And the begging, bailed-out plot to throw millions at GOP efforts blocking a bill to help out workers.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/27/bank-of-america-hosted-an_n_161...

What a mess.

Anything new here? Where's the link to the actual news story? Or did Larry Kaczala tell you all this personally? Are you playing the reporter here, breaking this 'news'? Please provide verification this all happened as you've posted.

For that matter, you could ask why any of the 24 who took the money did. Why single out Thurber?

None of the others has a show where they pass judgement on others as Maggie does. And the story is from yesterdays's front page of the Toledo Blade.

for the ever-dwindling number of people who care about this anymore.

really... I believe there is alot of people in Toledo who care about this. Ms. Thurber, an elected official WHO illegally funneled money to George W. Bush, and now is trying to out the current mayor by pushing WSPD/Take Back Toledo's agenda on her "show". She really needs to step out of any spotlight and go do something else.

Maybe you don't like the fact that she is doing well despite her mistakes.
In any case, maybe it is time to let this go. I mean Holly Crap! The article was about Larry Kaczala NOT taking money from Noe. It was just a cheap way to get this back in the paper so they could list all the players again. Enough.

Let's see... she was making over $90,000 being a county commisioner, and she does an hour of radio 5 days a week? She would be lucky to make $25,000? She is beyond not doing well. But this is what you get when you "cheat" the system. She is lucky she is not in jail with Tom.

isn't "beating a dead horse" all that they do at WSPD?

I don't know. I don't listen to WSPD anymore. Maybe you shouldn't either.

MikeyA

So doing well equates to money? That explains everything. Can you say SHALLOW????

Maybe we can find a dead horse for you.

MikeyA

I don't understand why you think so.

The fact that Thurber has been implicated, charged, and punished for that crime may be an embarrassment to her--and rightly so--but it does not affect whether or not she can host a radio program and "pass judgment on others."

If WSPD thought that it would affect ratings, they would have canned her. It obviously hasn't, so she stays and hosts a interesting dialogue.

If she were in office, however, I'd say you were right on--she'd have no business holding office after an ethics breach/criminal act.

"If she were in office, however, I'd say you were right on--she'd have no business holding office after an ethics breach/criminal act."

As for her "radio show"—the only radio I listen to is NPR so... out of sight, out of mind.

Isn't this story 4 years old?

MikeyA

I have not heard a single person express an opinion on Maggie's minor role in ConduitGate in several years. Time to move on, except for the Blade, which continues to milk Coingate for every possible story it can.

Twenty bucks says that the Blade will run a 10-year anniversary series on Coingate in 2015. Here are some projected headlines for the series:

"Where Are They Now? A Look Back at Coingate"

"Tom's New Digs: Life in a Halfway House"

"Stainbrook and Kidd: Gray-Haired Witnesses to Corruption"

"Bernadette: Caught at Kroger's With Non-Union Pickles"

And so on.

Didn't your lawyer tell you not to keep posting publicly? If he didn't he should.

MikeyA

Chris can confirm for you that I have never posted under anything but my own name. That of course is unlike other morning radio show hosts. And that can be confirmed too. The same goes for GCJ.

Aren't you supposed to be in jail, or something?

I do recall a couple of instances where your producer posted a few posts in your name.

I don't even recall the thread, but it was when I was calling you out to participate on the site and your producer admitted to adding comments under your name.

just so you know....

you are right , sort of. It was actually, Shane Craig, my webmaster who posted our content. It was done under troy neff 1230 am. I was just pointing out that I have never used another name when I've posted comments. I do not know who glasscat is but it ain't me.

and I, sir, stand corrected.

my apologies

I feel that we developed a mutual respect even if our politics differ. You called me out to be more active and I tried.

Right now my focus is on my sobriety, my family, and my business. I've made progress. I have not had a drink today or the last 9 actually.

only because you respectfully engaged me when I immaturely called you out.

But I got you out. :)

Troy, can I share something with you?

Try and read about those that have denied any wrongdoing after being caught red-handed. Thier names are mud.

You don't think I don't have a short fuse? Read my posts toward Twila concerning her angle on the inauguration. I get pissed when I'm insulted by an idiot.

Furious, actually.

Just as you had leaving work.

Know what it's like apologizing to your wife when you screw up? I do. I married the most patient woman on this planet and she admitted to me that had she known the depths of my anger, we'd not have got married. But she did and we (I) have been in the process of learning how to compromise.

And since we married, I found my child and released the anger and hatred I harbored toward that whor... I mean woman that accepted my seed and birthed a very accomplished and educated child. And I'm a much better person these days, for the most part.

Think I didn't feel stupid sitting in the back of that patrol car back in '91 after fighting two drunken morons because I was mocking the Dallas Cowboys in a bar during the Superbowl? It'd have been a lot different after defending myself to just walk away, but no, my temper took over and I took it to the next level, even tho I did not admit that in court.

But I did take it to the next level, and the level above and one more just for spite of wasting my time having to deal with the situation. And I took great joy in doing that to them. great joy. And I was sober.

But I did accept responsibility, not by admitting guilt, because I was well within my rights to defend myself against two aggressors, but by not contesting the charges against me and thowing myself to the mercy of the court only because I know I was wrong with how I handled myself after they were down.

So as somebody who has no idea who you are yet will have you as a friend, know I'm hoping for a wholehearted recovery and know there are those of us, as abusive as we are, are hoping this for your family's sake.

are two separate people and as far as I know no other radio personality purports themselves as someone else here.

Maggie and Helenwhales are two different people? or do most of these post come from the same IP that Clear Channel Radio Inc. works under? Because anyone who says Maggie has a good show is either Maggie or directly related to Maggie. Maggie belongs in jail next to Tom Noe, Hell, maybe she can take some of his "cigarettes" and have a special dinner with the warden.....

Maggie displayed a lack of judgement in the matter you speak of. It was rare from her.

However Maggie has not repeated her mistakes. She has moved on. People should be allowed mistakes. It's only when they display a disregard to learn from those mistakes should we not forgive and forget.

While I don't listen to WSPD anymore I still like Maggie. She was one of the few local politicians who took her job seriously and didn't play politics.

When Maggie and Sandy were commissioners things got done and they were from different parties. Today we have 3 from the same party and all I hear is of inner squabbling and little of anything being done.

MikeyA

different people. I don't know why you hate Maggie so much TGC. I think a more serious problem is what Ben Konop is alleging is happening at the Lucas County Commissioners, that Pete Gerkin is violating sunshine laws. That is a serious allegation. Will it be investigated? Probably not.

I was kind of being funny but also partly serious as glasscat only posts on radio threads or about radio personalities.

MikeyA

Has the gracious Maggie Thurber ever commented on why she did what she did?
In this site, her blog and especially over at Toledo Talk, she makes comments on nearly
every topic. I will say from reading her comments that she appears to be very articulate, smart and seems very level headed. Its hard to believe that she didn't know that taking that money from Noe was illegal. Being she don't want to comment on it that leaves one to conclude that she and her husband are really ignorant and someone else must be writing her material, or she is a crook like Noe who thought she could get away with it. I wish she would come clean:(

Did Thurber ever apologize to the voters of Lucas county for what she did? If No, why not. If yes, provide a link. Simple question.

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