Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Gene Stipe Machine Crumbles

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.
Read more, here..

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Prosecutor Prosecutes Himself


  Occasionally an elected official gets caught. But in this case the criminal comes forward on his own. Paul Anderson did just this, in 2002.
  The Tulsa World said;
  In Payne County, District Attorney Paul Anderson shocked the legal profession in 2002 when he admitted embezzling $84,000 over five years. He pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement and was sentenced to two years in prison. He served less than nine months but made full restitution.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Senator Jim Lane's Secret Life As A Ghost Employee

 
When Gene Stipe's political machine imploded, several other elected officials also paid a price for their corruption. Jim Lane was one of them.
  The Tulsa World said;
Ghost employee: Former state Sen. Jim E. Lane of McAlester was sentenced in 2003 to three years probation and two months home detention for his role in funneling illegal money into Walt Roberts' unsuccessful 1998 congressional campaign. Of the more than $200,000 in illegal money that ended up in the Roberts campaign, most was tied to Stipe, but Lane was directly tied to less than $70,000. Lane's sentence in the Roberts case came only six months after he was released from prison where he served seven months of a five-year sentence for defrauding the state as a "ghost employee."
http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/political-famous-then-infamous-of-past-years/article_9b276ed7-2b5a-567d-80fe-4de30fc37d6c.html 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Brent VanMeter Extorts Nursing Homes For Health Department

  The residents of our nursing homes are quite vulnerable. When they are abused, the whole state gets outraged. But when nursing home operators want to cut corners and get away with it, they eventually face a state inspector.
  The Tulsa World said;
  State Health Department: In 2000, the State Department of Health was rocked with scandal when the FBI showed up at the office of Deputy Health Commissioner Brent VanMeter, who was subsequently charged in federal court on several counts including money laundering and bribery. VanMeter conspired with two nursing home operators to have them pay VanMeter bribes in return for the Health Department's giving favorable treatment to their homes. VanMeter was convicted of both state and federal charges. Testimony showed he was using the bribes to feed his gambling habit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Fallin's Scandalous Affair

Lt. Gov’s bodyguard quits amid allegations of affair

December 8, 1998 AP
Trooper Greg Allen
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma Highway Patrol bodyguard for Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin has resigned after admitting ”unprofessional conduct” amid allegations by her estranged husband that she had an affair with a bodyguard.

Mrs. Fallin, a Republican who was elected to a second term last month, filed for divorce last week. At a hearing, Fallin’s attorney raised an allegation about the lieutenant governor having an affair with an unidentified bodyguard.

In a statement Monday, Public Safety Commissioner Bob Ricks said rumors surfaced in early September about ”alleged unprofessional conduct between a member of the executive security detail and the lieutenant governor.”

The statement said the trooper first denied the allegations, but was again questioned late last month and ”admitted to unprofessional conduct and was permitted to resign. That resignation was accepted last week. His admission did not indicate that sexual activity was involved.”

The Lost Ogle posted this photo of Mary Fallin's
first marriage being planned at
Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion
The trooper was not identified and Ricks was reported unavailable for further discussion of the matter.

Lana Tyree, Mrs. Fallin’s attorney, later issued a statement saying the lieutenant governor would have no comment.
Read more, here..

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Competing Nominees For Corporation Commission

Charles R. Nesbitt

Lame Duck Appointee Attempt:

  Since 1990, the Republicans controlled the commission when they held 2 of the 3 seats. When Commissioner JC Watts was elected to congress in November of 1994, the lame duck governor, David Walters; sought to give the Democrats control of the Commission by appointing former state attorney general Charles Nesbitt as a temporary successor to JC Watts. Gov. Elect, Frank Keating intended to name Ed Apple to the temporary post. The case ended up being argued before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Oklahoma's governor is sworn in a week after the US Congress swears in their members to a new term.

 The Daily Oklahoman recapped the drama this way...
A brief accompanying Nesbitt's petition claims Watts' commission seat "was vacant at the latest on Jan. 3, the date of commencement of the congressional term for which Commissioner Watts was elected," thus allowing Walters to appoint a replacement. Watts says he did not officially resign his commission seat until Jan. 9, after Keating became governor and gained the right to appoint Apple.
"This is a political controversy," Nesbitt charged. "The Republican Party undertook a power play. They did a real sloppy job of it, but it's for the Supreme Court to decide whether it was effective enough," he said.
Read more, here..

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bob Hopkins Corporation Commission Bribes

 The watchdogs over the state-sanctioned monopolies are called "Corporation Commissioners". But too often they become cozy with the very corporations they are supposed to be watching.

The Tulsa World said;
Bribery scandal: Another Tulsan, Bob Hopkins, a former state corporation commissioner who represented Tulsa County for 28 years in the state Legislature, was convicted in 1994 of accepting a $10,000 bribe from a Southwestern Bell attorney. In return, Hopkins had voted to allow the telephone company to use $30 million in overcharges. Hopkins died in 1997 at age 68.