President Greg Coffman appeared in court Friday on behalf of the firm
COSHOCTON — The president of the country’s oldest promotional products distributor appeared Friday in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court.
Gregory R. Coffman, 52, formerly of Coshocton, was indicted in May with theft, a fifth-degree felony, for incidents from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 7, 2019, and two counts of failure to provide notice of failure to make required premium payment or contribution, fourth-degree felonies, from incidents on Dec. 1, 2018, and June 13, 2019. Court documents list his current residence in Lakeville, Minnesota.
Coffman is president of Novelty Advertising, a promotional products distributor that opened in 1895. While the company is no longer operating out of its former location, it does not appear to officially be out of business.
The theft charge accused Coffman of diverting the employee share of insurance payments. The other two charges relate to state law that notice must be given when such premium payments aren’t made. Failure to make the payments resulted in termination of employee coverage, the indictment stated.
Special Prosecutor Christine Williams, assistant prosecutor in Knox County, said the state agreed to dismiss the case in exchange for Coffman pleading guilty on behalf of Novelty Advertising to a bill of information against the company. The bill of information contained the two counts of failure to provide notice of failure to make required premium payment or contribution, fourth-degree felonies.
Novelty Advertising was fined $5,000 for each count and ordered to pay $37,869.23 in restitution by special appointed Judge Linton Lewis. Attorney Karl Schneider said his client had a cashier’s check for the restitution. The fine would be paid off over the next two years.
Coffman, on behalf of Novelty Advertising, will serve two years of community control sanctions. Violation of the probation could see Coffman as representative of the company serve six to 18 months in prison for each count. Coffman made no statements in court.
In January 2020, several properties owned by Novelty Advertising were ordered sold by the court to pay for outstanding debts. According to court documents, Home Loan Savings Bank was seeking repayment of more than $1.18 million in debts, including interest, from defaulted loans.
An auction was held in November by order of the bank that included the main facility at 1148 Walnut St. and its contents. This included warehouse equipment, print machines and equipment, tools and office supplies and antique signs and collectibles.
Pat Kaufman with Kaufman Realty and Auctions said the property sold for $80,000 to an investor from Newark who wanted to renovate the building and possibly lease it out to different businesses.
Kaufman said contents went for about $53,000. Two highlights were a tow motor selling for $5,800 and antique Heidelberg presses going for $500 and $750.
“With the large amount of items to sell it was tough to guess what the total amount would be. I felt prices were very good overall,” Kaufman said. “The signs seemed to be the hot ticket item at the auction.”
Novelty Advertising hearing