It’s not just that ex-Governor George Voinovich liquidated Ohio’s largest malpractice insurance firm a decade ago, possibly to cover up illicit ties to some lowdown political shenanigans and to nurture a cash cow for the state. It’s that he can’t seem to explain why, or if he even cares about the thousands of people he screwed over to do it.
The victims are not just the doctors who lost all their stock in the physician-owned firm, or the claimants who took reduced settlements or are still waiting for money. They are also the 150 employees who lost their jobs and are still waiting on their 401k payments — all while the state still sits on a pot of money that’s nearly double in size to the amount still owed to everyone. A decade later.
“I sympathize with the claimants that did not receive what was owed to them,” says Rebecca Peko, a former middle manager at PIE who lost her job and is still waiting on about $40,000 in 401k. “But for many of us who spent years working there and had to start all over, it was a great difficulty. Many of us had children, etc. I remember that none of the news channels would even listen to us at the time. I believe that they were mixed up in the political bull as well. I could really write a book.”
Since Scene wrote about the PIE scandal two weeks ago, a few more developments have transpired to make us question even more the strength of our dear two-party system.
The Cleveland lawyer for Tom McManamon, who sued the state back in 2002 over what documents seem to show was a sham orchestrated by the state to cover up a cover-up, wrote a letter on June 9 to Assistant Attorney General Scott Myers, who’s handled the case for the state since the beginning. Attorney Ken Seminatore asked Myers why he wasn’t getting back to him about missing files; they'd examined the 77 boxes of evidence for the PIE case and asked for copies of many, but didn't get everything they'd requested. (McManamon sued six years ago, mind you, and is just now getting some of all of the documents that should have been provided years ago.)
McManamon hopes it isn’t a coincidence that a document that’s gone missing felt like a nugget of gold when he and Seminatore found it. He really just doesn’t trust these people anymore, and for good reason.
The feds say state investigators under Voinovich kept computers of PIE’s top executives, ones suspected to contain information about PIE’s solvency and the state’s dirty dealings — but those computers have since disappeared. The state still says that the feds must have them.
“So either the copy service didn’t copy some of this by mistake, or the state took it out,” says McMamamon. They told Assistant AG Myers that the documents they sought were in 18 of the 77 boxes. And to hand them over.