In the first decade of the new millennia, an old political machine crumbled under the weight of it's own corruption. The following is a summary of the Daily Oklahoman's reporting from the Muskogee Federal Courthouse.
From the Daily Oklahoman.
MUSKOGEE — Mike Mass, once an influential state representative and a past chairman of the state Democratic Party, in 2007, became the latest crooked Oklahoma politician to be sentenced to prison.
Ex-state Rep. Mike Mass, has written a book about his turbulent years in power and disgrace.
A judge ordered Mass to spend two years in federal prison for taking kickbacks to divert taxpayer money to a gaming machine company and a dog food manufacturing company. A prosecutor said Mass, 57, of Wilburton, has a gambling addiction and left his family destitute. The judge ordered Mass to get treatment, if necessary, and to stay out of casinos while on supervision after his release.
Businessman Steve Phipps was sentenced Wednesday to one year and one day in federal prison for paying kickbacks to Mass and two other legislators. Phipps’ companies illegally received almost $2.8 million and he agreed to pay legislators 10 percent in kickbacks. Both Mass and Phipps had faced up to five years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Ronald White showed leniency to Phipps for his "extraordinary” cooperation in an ongoing federal probe of political corruption. The judge said the corrupt things Phipps testified about doing "made my skin crawl.” Phipps said, "I am ashamed of my conduct. I have tarnished the political process ... I have tried to make amends.”
The judge ordered Phipps and Mass to together pay $279,258 in restitution to the state of Oklahoma. Phipps, 54, of Kiowa also must pay a $50,000 fine.
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