Monday, October 16, 2017

Governor Walters Plea Deal And Avoidance Of Impeachment



Gov. David Walters stands before District Judge John Amick in Oklahoma County District Court as he pleads guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating state campaign finance laws.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

Then in 1990 a scandal emerged from the gubernatorial campaign of winner and Democrat David Walters. Walters won, but the campaign was accompanied by a barrage of press reports that he had raised and spent more money that any previous candidate. Investigations by the state attorney general and Oklahoma County district attorney led to charges of campaign violations. Walters finally pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Critics attacked the outcome as letting him escape too easily from more serious charges. Still, the publicity probably moderated some of the worst excesses of campaign finance. And in this case reform had occurred with little federal intervention, in itself a significant gain.

One of the more prominent politicians convicted in the last 25 years of the state's history was former Gov. David Walters. Walters pleaded guilty in 1993 to a misdemeanor charge of violating a state campaign law in a plea agreement that dismissed eight felony charges of conspiracy and perjury. The conviction also led to his decision not to run for governor again. Walters, a Democrat, became president of Walters Power International, a company that provides huge electricity-generating mobile plants sometimes located in remote regions.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The 1991 School Bond Scandal



Tulsa Public Schools Claimed Poverty While Running A Loan Business With Surpluses

Roughly a decade after Okscam came to light, a major scandal broke that grew out of the misuse of education bonds issued by school districts. A word about bonds is in order. Federal officials allowed local officials to issue education bonds to tide them over financially tight periods, as when property tax receipts for schools were late coming in. The bonds were never intended as a means for local education officials to make money, a distinction that was to become quite important as the bond scam unfolded.
Bonds Without A Vote Of The Electorate

During the 1980s, a major bond underwriting company, Stifel, Nicolaus, and Co., was active in promoting the use of bonds to finance public projects. Stifel also engaged in promoting candidates for office via contributions to their campaigns. The Stifel bond company formed a political action committee (PAC) to channel political contributions to candidates, and also channeled contributions through company officers and lobbyists. By these means, they could contribute quite legitimately, just as other businesses did.

Read more, here..

Friday, October 6, 2017

Election Board Secretary, Harmon Moore, Goes To Prison For Embezzlement


 
  There were several claims of fraud and shiftiness for years. But none could be proven. Oldtimers still say that the 1984 mayoral race was wrought with corruption by the many broken machines that led to long lines at the polls, but only in the heavily Republican precincts!
  Then, in 1987, The Tulsa World said;

1987 
 Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Harmon Moore Jr. resigned amid allegations of embezzlement; he later was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzling public funds.
Embezzlers: Also in Tulsa County, election board secretary Harmon Moore was sent to prison in 1987 for embezzling public funds. He was convicted of converting $16,713 in public funds to his own use. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Leo Winters: State Treasurer & Banking Secrets

  In 1974 A federal grand jury indicted Winters, for, among other things, of using his position to extort campaign money from banks. Winters was acquitted of four counts during a well publicized trial, and other counts later were dropped. A few weeks after that, he was re-elected. 

  Winters served five terms and was trying for a sixth when his 1986 campaign was doomed by allegations that a Tulsa bank may have written off millions in loans to him.

  In 1986, many Oklahoma banks were on the brink of default from a crash in the oil markets, worldwide. Yet State Treasure Winters, decided to deposit a massive amount of state funds into a non-interest bearing account in Liberty Bank (now known as Banc One).
The Oklahoman reported:

Former Rep. Joe Manning of Cushing led the three-man field in the Republican primary and Rep. Bob Brown of Claremore finished second.

Manning, 39, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1974 to 1982 and now is business manager of the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma. In that job, Manning says, he invests and manages the foundation's assets.

 Read more, here..

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lettergate: Tulsa Mayor Terry Young's Forgery Scandal

 
  When a high official gets involved in wrongdoing, it's usually the cover up that gets him in big trouble.

 The Democrats were 'circling the wagons' when Finis Smith was convicted. They knew it could lead to election losses. When several Democrats wrote to the judge in the Finis Smith trial, they begged for leniency for Smith. That revelation jeopardized several Democrat elected officials.
  Well, evidently some operatives thought it would be good strategy to make the Republicans look like their prosecutions were politically motivated. So another Republican federal prosecutor was targeted for a Democrat dirty trick. A letter was forged with the signature of Federal Prosecutor, Layn Phillips. The Federal investigation traced the source of the letter to a typewriter in Democrat mayor Terry Young's office. Everyone denied involvement and nothing was ever proven.

 Tulsa World said;
One of the biggest stories of 1986 was the so-called "Lettergate" scandal, which toppled Mayor Young's administration. After various public officials, including Young, wrote letters urging leniency for the Smiths, two subsequent letters with then-U.S. Attorney Layn Phillips' named forged on them surfaced. The forgeries suggested Phillips would release names of Democratic officials who had written leniency letters in an effort to damage them politically.
  The forgeries were linked to a typewriter and letter found in Young's office. Young and his staff denied any involvement, and a federal grand jury and special prosecutor left the case unresolved. But the incident no doubt led to the defeat of Young by political newcomer Tom Quinn in a March primary. 
Read more, here.. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Senate Pro Tem, Finis Smith Goes To Prison For Fraud


 Senate President, Finis Smith, of West Tulsa, was caught with an unreported foreign bank account which he's not reported on his taxes. He and his wife both were sentenced to prison. They owned a Tag Agency. He was disbarred from his law practice.

  The Tulsa World said;
1985
  Former Oklahoma Senate  president pro-tem Finis Smith, along with his wife Doris,  were convicted by a federal court jury here on felony counts  of mail and tax fraud, conspiracy and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts. Finis and Doris Smith, each got six years, and were sent to a federal prison in Texas.
The Daily Oklahoman put it this way..
A federal jury Thursday afternoon found former state Sen. Finis Smith and his wife, former Tulsa County automobile tag agent Doris Smith, guilty of 18 counts each of mail fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy.
The jury deliberated slightly less than eight hours, announcing at 12:35 p.m. that it had reached a verdict. The Smiths gazed stoically ahead as Presiding U.S. District Judge H. Dale Cook's clerk read the verdict on each count. As the verdict was announced, defense attorney Carl Hughes lowered his head to his arms on the table in front of him.
Read More, here.. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Oklahoma County Commissioner Scandal

  When Republican President, Ronald Reagan started appointing conservative federal prosecutors and judges, The Democrats who ran Oklahoma began to sweat. Eventually, the IRS notified the Justice Department about fake billing invoices to county commissioners. Bill Price was one such federal prosecutor. After he sent scores of county commissioners to jail, he ran for governor. Sadly he lost, due to more corruption in David Walter's campaign funding.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

Bill Price prosecuted most of the County Commissioners
In 1980 a huge scandal erupted stemming from the conviction of some 220 county commissioners and suppliers. Their convictions rose from involvement in a scheme of kickbacks paid on orders for county road-building supplies such as timber and gravel. The scandal reached all across the state in roughly sixty counties large and small, urban and rural. It had been going on for as long as anyone could remember. Again, federal officials rooted out the corruption.

The Tulsa World said;

  1981 Undoubtedly the year's biggest story also was a big one nationally: The far-reaching county commissioner scandal, essentially a kickback scheme among suppliers and commissioners, began to unfold. It was described as the largest case of public corruption in the nation. All but a handful of the state's 77 counties were involved. Commissioners resigned in 69 counties; 13 counties lost all their commissioners in the wake of the scandal, unearthed by federal investigators. Over the next year, 240 commissioners, former commissioners and material suppliers would be implicated before the scandal drew to a close.


Old-time politics in the Southern tradition reared its head in Oklahoma big time when dozens of "good ol' boy" county commissioners were convicted of taking kickbacks. The scandal played out in the early 1980s, serving as a textbook example for political scientists of what power and money can do to common folks elected to public office where they have access to taxpayers' money. "The funny thing is that the corruption was generally accepted," Gaddie said. It was common practice that commissioners received a 10 percent kickback from key vendors, but when the ante was upped to 15 percent or more, it was discovered.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Speaker, Dan Draper, Convicted Of Election Fraud, In 1983


The Oklahoma Speaker, Dan Draper, was convicted in 1983 for election tampering. He was trying to help his father win a seat in the Oklahoma legislature.

The Tulsa World reported; 1983
Then-House Speaker Dan Draper's troubles began in 1983. He and House Majority Floor Leader Joe Fitzgibbon initially were convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly fixing absentee ballots to help Draper's father in an unsuccessful race for a House seat. Draper and Fitzgibbon later won new trials (in 1985), but a federal judge dismissed the charges at the behest of U.S. Attorney Roger Hilfiger. Muskogee Democrat Jim Barker became the new speaker thanks to Draper's troubles.


Draper was further convicted in 1984. the Tulsa World said;
  Dan Draper ended up in more trouble. He was arrested in February when a police officer found him slumped over the wheel of his car. He pleaded no contest to actual physical control while intoxicated, a charge later amended to a lesser offense after a year of probation.

Friday, September 1, 2017

John Rogers & Son Leave High Offices, In Disgrace

  John Rogers was elected examiner and inspector in 1958 and won re-election four times until his defeat by Tom Daxon in 1978, the year the job was changed to that of auditor and inspector.

  He had narrowly been re-elected four years earlier after a legislative committee and a federal grand jury received evidence that his employees had received raises based on their campaign contributions for Gov. David Hall during Hall's successful 1970 campaign.

  Rogers and his son, then-Secretary of State John Rogers Jr., were called before the grand jury investigating Gov. Hall just weeks before the 1974 election. Both refused to answer questions and invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

  The allegations produced no charges against Rogers or his son.  Nonetheless, they set off a chain of events which ultimately led to Hall's conviction on bribery and extortion charges and the resignation of John Rogers Jr. under threat of impeachment.

  In 1977, the Office of Revenue Sharing of the U.S. Department of Treasury accused the elder Rogers of not following proper auditing procedures.

  It was also alleged about that time that he again had had employees donate one-third of their salaries under a formula to his re-election bid. Such allegations had been raised every few years against Rogers Sr. since 1960. His brother, Will Rogers, no relation to the humorist, served 10 years in Congress.

  In 1975 Rogers jr. resigned before the start of a Senate trial after the House voted to impeach him. Rogers was accused of numerous wrongs including closing his office on the last day that a referendum petition could be delivered to his office.

  Rogers Sr. died in '82; Rogers Jr. died in '08.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Oklahoma Governor Goes To Prison

David Hall:


David Hall passed away in 2016. He has been living quietly since he left public life on his way to prison.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society, posted this recap..
After the terrible governorships of the late 20s & early 30's, it wasn't until the 1960s that major scandals again surfaced, and then they did so with a vengeance. Three justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court were removed from office by impeachment or resignation arising from IRS investigations of reports that justices were taking kickbacks for favorable decisions. A powerful former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, who had been a dominant figure in state government, was convicted and sent to jail as a result of IRS investigations arising from charges that he failed to report income received in return for political favors. Then in 1975 a former governor, David Hall, was convicted, shortly after leaving office, of misusing his powers of office by trying to direct a state retirement fund to help a friend with a loan. Again, federal officials were the chief agents in cleaning up the corruption.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Impeachment and Imprisonment Of 3 Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices

Fifty years ago, Oklahomans were humiliated by revelations that three state Supreme Court justices had accepted bribes. Former Justices N.S. Corn, Earl Welch and N.B. Johnson served jail time for their criminal actions.

Judicial Scandal

  In 1965, scandal burst forth in an unusual setting, the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Three judges were implicated in taking payoffs to decide cases before the court. These three judges were either convicted in court or impeached. IRS inquiries laid much of the groundwork.


One of the guilty judges, N.S. Corn, became contrite and publicly described his misbehavior. He admitted that over about 20 years of taking payoff, he could not recall one single year in which he had not taken a payoff. Professor Phillip M. Simpson of Cameron University has researched one spectacular payoff case in which "Corn . swore that he had received $150,000 in $100 bills ... in a downtown Oklahoma City

meeting .... The attorney who had established the pattern with Corn was O.A. Cargill, former Oklahoma City mayor and Corn's friend for 50 years." This corruption obviously reached into the highest levels and included citizens usually deemed quite respectable.

Corn, Welch and Johnson had been elected, and re-elected, to their high positions by the people. The shame cast on our state by their misconduct was the fuel for a judicial reform movement led

The Sneed Plan, calling for the appointment, not election, of our appellate judges, passed as a constitutional amendment in 1967. Missing from the Sneed Plan were district court judges who remain elected officials to this day.

The Sneed Plan established the Judicial Nominating Commission, composed of 15 members. It has six lawyers, elected by the lawyers, six laypersons appointed by the governor, plus three more laypersons, one selected by the members of the commission, one selected by the House speaker and one selected by the president pro tem of the Senate.
Read more, here..

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Speaker McCarty's 1960s Bribery Machine

  A 1950s major scandal centered on the former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, J.D. McCarty.

 The speaker is normally a powerful figure, and McCarty was more so than usual because he happened to serve during the term of the state's first Republican governor, Henry Bellman, elected in 1962. McCarty, a skilled politician, emerged as a highly visible and dominant figure, leading Democrats against the Republican governor.

  Unfortunately for McCarty, he lost his reelection bid from his district in 1966, and the IRS descended upon him with tax evasion charges. His critics unkindly claimed that he failed to report his many bribes.

 In any event, he was convicted and sent to jail. Thus, in a few short years, leading state judges and the powerful former speaker had proven to be corrupt. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1960s Voting Corruption In Oklahoma


by Paul R. Hollrah, reprinted from The New Media Journal - 
  In August 1963 I was transferred to Tulsa from Wall Street, in New York, in a corporate headquarters relocation. A month later, on Tuesday evening, September 10, 1963, I attended my first political meeting… the monthly meeting of the Tulsa County Young Republicans. 
  The guest speaker that evening was Tulsa attorney Walter Hall, Ballot Security Officer for the Oklahoma Republican State Committee. In his speech Hall described in detail the widespread fraud practiced by Oklahoma Democrats in every election. And since Democrats controlled all county and state election boards, the governor’s office, both houses of the legislature, the major law enforcement offices, and the courts, few Republicans were willing to challenge them. 
Walter Hall
Hall began by explaining that forty-four of Oklahoma’s seventy-seven counties had not provided a secret ballot for voters since statehood in 1907, and that local Democrats regularly used every conceivable illegal device to intimidate voters and to fraudulently control the outcome of elections.
  Although state law required that one of the three election officials in each precinct must be a member of the minority party, Democrats systematically recruited loyal party members to register as Republicans so that they could fill the minority positions.
  He described how, on election day, after voters had signed the entry log, they were handed a paper ballot and a pencil. And since there were no facilities for marking a ballot in secret, they were obliged to place their ballots on the table and mark them with the three election officials looking on. If the election officials saw a voter mark his/her ballot for even a single Republican candidate, a number of things could happen… none of them good.

Read more, here..

Monday, August 7, 2017

Liquor And Corruption



  Unless you're a 3rd generation Oklahoman, you probably don't know that prohibition didn't end in the mid 30s, in Oklahoma.

  The demise of Prohibition deserves more than passing mention. Oklahoma was one of the last states to allow strong drink. By the time of repeal in 1959, open saloons serving whatever customers wanted flourished in urban centers, and bootleggers provided fast arid efficient home service for those in dire need.

  No more prohibition.

 A make believe liquor casket containing 'Old Man Prohibition' is hauled jubilantly through the streets with a police escort here, April 7th. The occasion was an election victory that ended 51 years of prohibition in the state.
 The widespread flouting of the law in itself became one of the strong arguments in favor of repeal.
   By this time the state had voted on the liquor issue six times. Finally, on the seventh time, repeal carried the day and thereby reduced a significant source of corruption.
Governor Edmondson won on Prohibition.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Alfalfa Bill Murray & His 34 Declarations Of Martial Law

Books can be written about Alfalfa Bill Murray. But with his populism there was also a bravado which got him into trouble.

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

  After the two failed governorships of Walton & Johnson, the next governor, elected in 1930 at the onset of the Great Depression, was William H. Murray, better known as "Alfalfa Bill." A couple decades earlier, Murray had chaired Oklahoma's constitutional convention, leading to statehood. He acquired a national reputation of sorts partly because of his oddball behavior. Like Jack Walton he was a great showman. He presented himself as one with the common farmers in language and in dress. He dressed in rumpled clothing, including the trademark long johns that extended conspicuously below his pant legs. His language could be crude, even obscene. That he was mostly an opportunist interested in electoral gain is suggested by his background. He had worked as a teacher and reporter, had read law, and had gained recognition as expert in tribal land claims. The woman he married was related to a tribal chief. These are high-status traits, not those of an unlettered, rumpled farmer.

  In office he did champion ordinary farmers and others in distress. Nevertheless, his own state programs did not get far, partly because of the Great Depression and partly because of his irascible personality. He clashed with Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, feeling that FDR had ridiculed him. Federal officials bypassed Murray and thus cut him out of much patronage. Murray became enraged and consumed by vindictiveness in his opposition to FDR and the New Deal, an attitude that stayed with him after he left office. To the end of his days he railed against the New Deal, communists, and "International Jewry." Worst of all was his willingness to invoke martial law, which he did a total of thirty-four times.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Oklahoma's Psychic Governor, Henry Johnson

  Psychics have always had their opponents and their adherents. One fan of such things was a former governor in the 1920s

Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

  After Walton was thrown out in his first year, through impeachment, the next freely elected governor in 1926 was Henry S. Johnston, who suffered a fate similar to Walton's, although not because of criminal misconduct. He spent much time in his office reportedly engaged in solitary meditation and consultation with his personal astrologer. His administrative assistant had a room full of caged canaries with whom he claimed to communicate. The governor's personal secretary ran a tight ship that effectively cut off legislators wanting to discuss vital patronage matters. Legislators became furious and, in keeping with these turbulent times, ousted Johnston from office in January 1929. Thus by this early date the young state had removed two sitting governors from office, a record not matched by any other state until much later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jack Walton's Brief Governorship & Impeachment

Some say this man should have been in the entertainment business, or perhaps an evangelist? But his antics led to his quick exit from state high office.

 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;
  The period of the 1920s and 1930s was one of bitter political strife. Martial law was invoked repeatedly, and two sitting governors were removed from office. Jack Walton was the first to be removed. Elected in 1920, he ran a spectacular campaign heavy in showmanship. But in office he was a disaster. He publicly fought the Klan yet unofficially colluded with them. He wildly extended patronage powers to appoint college presidents and professors, arousing intense opposition. He invoked martial law and at one point had the whole state under martial law. Inaugurated on January 9, 1923, he was impeached and was removed from office in the same year on November 23.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scandalous Behavior: Trail Of Tears



Political corruption is not easily defined. The legal definition is clear but unsatisfactory, because the press often refers to ill-defined scandals that cannot be completely ignored. Therefore, it is better to use a broad definition encompassing scandalous behavior by officials who abuse the public trust for reasons not only of personal gain, but also for other reasons that may have serious negative consequences for public affairs. At the outset it merits mention that Oklahoma does not rank as the most corrupt of states. That dubious distinction typically goes to Louisiana. Still, Oklahoma has had outstanding cases of scandal reaching into the highest levels of state government, including the state's Supreme Court and the chief executive. As for the historical record, Oklahoma began as Indian Territory in the early 1800s, and much of the nineteenth century was laced with fraud perpetuated against American Indians. The infamous Trail of Tears of the 1830s began in a scheme by federal officials to transfer Indians from their tribal holdings on the east coast, which white settlers sought, to what was then a distant western wilderness. Removal of the Indians was supposed to be voluntary. But voluntary compliance broke down, and officials resorted to force. The resulting forced march by the Indians through winter weather killed men, women, and children by the thousands. This abuse of the public trust by officials surely ranks as one of the most shameful chapters in both national and state history. Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

The Tulsa Race Riot Cover Up

  Not many years after 1907 statehood, a race riot in 1921 convulsed Tulsa. The triggering event, inflamed by local newspaper reports, was an accusation that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman. Racial tensions, abetted by growing Ku Klux Klan activities, had been on the rise for some time. Some commentators have described the riot as one of the nation's worst. The body count is uncertain but ranges from seventy or eighty to as many as three hundred. A destructive fire raged through the Greenwood District, destroying homes and a prosperous business section. Thousands of blacks were rounded up as "suspects" and jailed, some for a week or so. At the time, many whites reacted with horror. But a veil of denial, created mainly by public officials, descended.


History books usually gave this episode only passing mention. Not until the late 1990s was the riot reexamined and made the subject of the Tulsa Race Riot Commission that undertook further inquiry, including consideration of possible reparations. Whatever else might be said, the veil of denial had been lifted.


Here's a research paper, presented by an undergrad student at the University of Tulsa, nearly 70 years later.

THE TULSA RACE RIOT OF 1921

BY I. MARC CARLSON

  The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 is a little-known and somewhat misunderstood event in the history of the United States. It is generally considered, on those rare occasions it is discussed, to have been an isolated event in Tulsa's past that resulted in death and considerable destruction. The theories about what happened and why are divers and often conflicting. With the paucity of information available, it is difficult to determine absolutely the course of events. Enough evidence exists, however, to justify the drawing of certain limited conclusions.The conclusions presented in this paper stem from a view the Tulsa Race Riot, not as a single occurrence, but as two separate but linked events. Each event evolved from separate sets of causes. Each set of causes originated in the social context that existed prior to the events. It should be possible to determine some of these causes and from there interpolate other logical causes.In the years bridging the second and third decades of the twentieth century, episodes of racial tension and violence were frequent. In July of 1917, East St. Louis, Illinois erupted into a bloody battle between blacks and whites after an aluminum plant began to hire black workers to break a strike.

Read more, here...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Guthrie & OKC Play 'Capture the Flag'

  The story was that Oklahoma's first post-territorial governor stole the state seal in the dead of night, drove from Guthrie to Oklahoma City, stashed the seal under his hotel bed and collapsed from exhaustion.
  The temporary Capitol was in Guthrie, OK. But the plan for a permanent Capitol Building brought with it a fight between the republicans in the West, and the Democrats in the East. they originally sought to create 2 states (Oklahoma & Sequoyah), but Roosevelt didn't want another Democrat state(Sequoyah), so he supported a 1-state solution and hoped the Western republicans would prevail.

The New Jerusalem 

   William H. "Alfalfa Bill" Murray proposed buying a township for the capital. He proposed selling lots around the capitol building and said the chosen place should have "good drainage and a picturesque grandeur. " This and similar plans became known as the "new Jerusalem" approach to the capital - creating an entirely new city on the prairie with construction of the Capitol funded by the platting and selling of lots.


  On Nov. 3, 1908, an election was held on a state question calling for the acquisition of a capital site and the selling of lots to finance construction of the Capitol. Although more voters than not approved the measure, it did not pass by the necessary majority.

  Oklahoma City sent out trainloads of boosters to canvass the state on June 5. The following Saturday, 160,000 voters - all of them male - went to the polls. Oklahoma City won handily. Guthrie was second and Shawnee a distant third.

Capture The Flag

  Legends surround the removal of the seal in 1910, and the truth - not nearly as colorful - has been washed by the passage of time.  So nobody really knows exactly how Oklahoma City became the state capital a bit earlier, shall we say, than expected.  Dirty laundry is how one source says it happened. Dirty tricks is how Guthrie partisans saw it.

Stolen Seal Finds Home

  The trip north had actually taken longer because of a flat tire at Seward. Back in Oklahoma City by 7 a.m., Anthony met Gov. Haskell, who arrived that Sunday morning by train from his home in Muskogee.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Land Run


  The famous Land Run of 1889 was itself a form of fraud, as were later runs. The original Indian removal promised land to the Indians "in perpetuity." But the runs, in opening the territory to large-scale settlement by whites, effectively scuttled the basic idea of Indian Territory as Indian land. White settlers were delighted, and the runs have been widely celebrated. Yet for the Indians the runs meant that whites were again breaking solemn promises made to them.

  Fraud also occurred in the practices of Texas cattlemen who drove their herds across the Indian Territory on the way to market. They were supposed to get the permission of the Indians and pay them fair value. But the Indians lived in tribal communities and knew little about private property and market value. The resulting transactions were apt to be to the disadvantage of the Indian landowners.
 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Scandalous Behavior: Trail Of Tears


  Political corruption is not easily defined. The legal definition is clear but unsatisfactory, because the press often refers to ill-defined scandals that cannot be completely ignored. Therefore, it is better to use a broad definition encompassing scandalous behavior by officials who abuse the public trust for reasons not only of personal gain, but also for other reasons that may have serious negative consequences for public affairs. At the outset it merits mention that Oklahoma does not rank as the most corrupt of states. That dubious distinction typically goes to Louisiana. Still, Oklahoma has had outstanding cases of scandal reaching into the highest levels of state government, including the state's Supreme Court and the chief executive.
  As for the historical record, Oklahoma began as Indian Territory in the early 1800s, and much of the nineteenth century was laced with fraud perpetuated against American Indians. The infamous Trail of Tears of the 1830s began in a scheme by federal officials to transfer Indians from their tribal holdings on the east coast, which white settlers sought, to what was then a distant western wilderness. Removal of the Indians was supposed to be voluntary. But voluntary compliance broke down, and officials resorted to force. The resulting forced march by the Indians through winter weather killed men, women, and children by the thousands. This abuse of the public trust by officials surely ranks as one of the most shameful chapters in both national and state history.
 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

Thursday, June 29, 2017

At Least We're Not Louisiana


Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

In retrospect, several points stand out. The first is that Oklahoma does not deserve a reputation as the most corrupt of states, since Louisiana typically stands out as most deserving of that designation. Second, the state has known some spectacular cases of corruption reaching into the Supreme Court, the governorship, the House speakership, and the whole system of county commissioner government. Third, again and again it has been federal officials who attacked corruption and forced reform. Fourth, there have been some notable recent exceptions to the primacy of federal intervention, one being the case of Gov. David Walters and the other being the school bond scam. Fifth is that in both instances of state action, investigative reporting by the Daily Oklahoman deserves credit as a significant counterweight to the limitations of state and local officials.

The Tulsa World wanted to say;

Dishonorable mention: For those who are counting, we've already listed dozens, but here's one more for good measure. Some will be remembered for improprieties that caused a big to-do at the time but did not result in more than embarrassment. Oklahoma gained some notoriety during a U.S. House check-writing scandal in the early 1990s when representatives were accused of bouncing checks on the House bank. Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards was named as one of the worst offenders with 386 overdrafts. Edwards received a letter, he said, in 1992 informing him that no wrongdoing was found in his case. But voters booted him out of office in 1992. After leaving office, Edwards taught for many years at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Senator Ralph Shortey Charges: Drugs & Solicitation Of A Teen Boy

  Senator Ralph Shortey had been a strong proponent of a 'get tough' criminal justice policy. In fact, when the voters of Oklahoma passed a referendum to reduce simple drug possession from a felony, to a misdemeanor, Shortey led the charge to convince the legislature to nullify that act during the 2017 session. That endeavor failed in a dramatic way.
  With spring break approaching, Ralph was approached by a teen male whom he had developed a relationship. Shortey had been volunteering at  a local youth program, in Moore, OK; and had many such contacts. The boy wanted some spending money and Ralph texted back, inquiring if he was open to "sex stuff".

  The text was intercepted by the boy's girlfriend, who alerted the boy's parents. They found Senator Shortey and the boy at a local hotel, and police eventually convinced Shortey to come out.  Police reports indicate that the room's air was strong with the stench of marijuana smoke.
  Multiple charges were filed within days and the Senate revoked all of Shortey's privileges.
Shortey resigned his seat and began preparations for a criminal trial.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

At Least We're Not Louisiana


Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;

In retrospect, several points stand out. The first is that Oklahoma does not deserve a reputation as the most corrupt of states, since Louisiana typically stands out as most deserving of that designation. Second, the state has known some spectacular cases of corruption reaching into the Supreme Court, the governorship, the House speakership, and the whole system of county commissioner government. Third, again and again it has been federal officials who attacked corruption and forced reform. Fourth, there have been some notable recent exceptions to the primacy of federal intervention, one being the case of Gov. David Walters and the other being the school bond scam. Fifth is that in both instances of state action, investigative reporting by the Daily Oklahoman deserves credit as a significant counterweight to the limitations of state and local officials.

The Tulsa World wanted to say;

Dishonorable mention: For those who are counting, we've already listed dozens, but here's one more for good measure. Some will be remembered for improprieties that caused a big to-do at the time but did not result in more than embarrassment. Oklahoma gained some notoriety during a U.S. House check-writing scandal in the early 1990s when representatives were accused of bouncing checks on the House bank. Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards was named as one of the worst offenders with 386 overdrafts. Edwards received a letter, he said, in 1992 informing him that no wrongdoing was found in his case. But voters booted him out of office in 1992. After leaving office, Edwards taught for many years at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

Senator Ralph Shortey Resigns Amid Charges of Drugs & Solicitation Of A Teen Boy

  Senator Ralph Shortey had been a strong proponent of a 'get tough' criminal justice policy. In fact, when the voters of Oklahoma passed a referendum to reduce simple drug possession from a felony, to a misdemeanor, Shortey led the charge to convince the legislature to nullify that act during the 2017 session. That endeavor failed in a dramatic way.
  With spring break approaching, Ralph was approached by a teen male whom he had developed a relationship. Shortey had been volunteering at  a local youth program, in Moore, OK; and had many such contacts. The boy wanted some spending money and Ralph texted back, inquiring if he was open to "sex stuff".

  The text was intercepted by the boy's girlfriend, who alerted the boy's parents. They found Senator Shortey and the boy at a local hotel, and police eventually convinced Shortey to come out.  Police reports indicate that the room's air was strong with the stench of marijuana smoke.
  Multiple charges were filed within days and the Senate revoked all of Shortey's privileges.
Shortey resigned his seat and began preparations for a criminal trial.

Dan Kirby Resigns Amid Sex Scandals

Fourkiller & Kirby pose with the woman
who ended Kirby's political career.
In the final days of the Jeff Hickman speakership, A payout was made to settle a sexual harassment complaint. the item was discovered by media outlets and the matter turned into a major sex scandal & multiple investigations.
When it was over, Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) had resigned to avoid a first-ever expulsion vote. Rep. Will Fourkiller (D-Tahlequah) had been ordered to stay away from minor female pages.
The sexual harassment complaint came from a young woman legislative assistant who had been reassigned to Kirby when she was rumored to be having an affair with her previous assignment, Randy Grau. Rep Grau left the legislature and averted a divorce with his wife.
  But it was a 2nd legislative assistant who provided the most damning evidence. She provided evidence of a pattern of Kirby's pressure toward her, to provide sexually explicit sexting photos of herself. She further described how Kirby provided strippers for the assistant, at a nude dance hall.
  Fourkiller was repremanded for his inappropriate conduct with minor girls who were assigned to the state legislature, as an educational program.

The Dan Sullivan Disgrace & Golden Hammock

During A Saturday radio interview With OKC radio host, Scott Mitchell; Terrill talked about “reprehensible conduct” taking place at the Capitol involving House members, issues involving House members having sex with staffers and House members working on the House floor while drinking vodka and impaired voting.

“More than half-a-dozen members partake of a drink in late night sessions. Some have come back impaired after a late dinner – something that is specifically prohibited by House rules. Those found guilty of habitual drunkenness can be impeached,” noted Terrill.

Continued Terrill on the Scott Mitchell Show: “How about House members? Our majority floor leader Dan Sullivan who had sex, an extra-marital affair with his chief judiciary staffer, his chief attorney when he was chair of the judiciary committee before he became the majority floor leader and then subsequently arranged for her to have a job, ultimately on the state payroll regulating insurance companies.”

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Insurance Commissioner Shakes Down Citizens For Free Furniture

The Tulsa World said;
Free furniture: In 2007, Carroll Fisher, former state insurance commissioner, started serving a 14-month prison term after he was caught depositing a $1,000 campaign contribution from his state campaign funds into his personal bank account when it was overdrawn in 2003. Fisher was reprimanded by the State Ethics Commission for soliciting office furniture from those he regulated. The governor said that Fisher could not keep more than $33,000 worth of furniture, artwork and kitchen equipment he had sought as "gifts to the state." 
  Carroll Fisher was then sentenced in 2009, in a bribery case, to six months in a private lock-down facility in Tulsa.
Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson spared Fisher, 69, from more time in state prison. Defense attorneys argued the former official already has been punished and humiliated enough.

"This is a man who has been very much humbled by what he’s experienced,” defense attorney Bob Wyatt said.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gene Stipe Dies In Prison

  After 50 years at the height of political power, Gene Stipe was taken down when term limits started bringing in Republicans to state government in sufficient volume to keep an eye on the "good ol' boys".
  The Tulsa World said;

 Gene Stipe: The McAlester Democrat is served a five-year probationary sentence for federal campaign violations and perjury and is in trouble again. After having served more than 50 years in political office, Stipe allegedly continued to hatch political campaign schemes by reimbursing "straw donors" who funneled money to Democratic campaigns. 
  In the long run, Stipe, 81, may not be remembered so much for his recent problems, at least in his old stomping grounds in southeastern Oklahoma's "Little Dixie," said Keith Gaddie, political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. At his height, Stipe "was such a colorful character," Gaddie said. Stipe fit the role of "the old-line, rural politician, the cigar-chomping country lawyer" who had a charismatic quality inside the courtroom, he said. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Gene Stipe Machine Crumbles

Code Of Silence



  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.

Read the full coverage at the Daily Oklahoman.

MUSKOGEE — Mike Mass, once an influential state representative and a past chairman of the state Democratic Party, became Wednesday 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.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

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.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

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 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

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.”

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Governor Walters Plea Deal And Avoidance Of Impeachment

Gov. David Walters stands before
District Judge John Amick in Oklahoma County
District Court as he pleads guilty to one
misdemeanor count of violating state
campaign finance laws.
 Harry Holloway, of the Oklahoma Historical Society said;
  Then in 1990 a scandal emerged from the gubernatorial campaign of winner and Democrat David Walters. Walters won, but the campaign was accompanied by a barrage of press reports that he had raised and spent more money that any previous candidate. Investigations by the state attorney general and Oklahoma County district attorney led to charges of campaign violations. Walters finally pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. Critics attacked the outcome as letting him escape too easily from more serious charges. Still, the publicity probably moderated some of the worst excesses of campaign finance. And in this case reform had occurred with little federal intervention, in itself a significant gain.

  One of the more prominent politicians convicted in the last 25 years of the state's history was former Gov. David Walters. Walters pleaded guilty in 1993 to a misdemeanor charge of violating a state campaign law in a plea agreement that dismissed eight felony charges of conspiracy and perjury. The conviction also led to his decision not to run for governor again. Walters, a Democrat, became president of Walters Power International, a company that provides huge electricity-generating mobile plants sometimes located in remote regions.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The 1991 School Bond Scandal



Tulsa Public Schools Claimed Poverty While Running A Loan Business With Surpluses

Roughly a decade after Okscam came to light, a major scandal broke that grew out of the misuse of education bonds issued by school districts. A word about bonds is in order. Federal officials allowed local officials to issue education bonds to tide them over financially tight periods, as when property tax receipts for schools were late coming in. The bonds were never intended as a means for local education officials to make money, a distinction that was to become quite important as the bond scam unfolded.

Bonds Without A Vote Of The Electorate

During the 1980s, a major bond underwriting company, Stifel, Nicolaus, and Co., was active in promoting the use of bonds to finance public projects. Stifel also engaged in promoting candidates for office via contributions to their campaigns. The Stifel bond company formed a political action committee (PAC) to channel political contributions to candidates, and also channeled contributions through company officers and lobbyists. By these means, they could contribute quite legitimately, just as other businesses did.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Election Board Secretary, Harmon Moore, Goes To Prison For Embezzlement


 
  There were several claims of fraud and shiftiness for years. But none could be proven. Oldtimers still say that the 1984 mayoral race was wrought with corruption by the many broken machines that led to long lines at the polls, but only in the heavily Republican precincts!
  Then, in 1987, The Tulsa World said;

1987 
 Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Harmon Moore Jr. resigned amid allegations of embezzlement; he later was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzling public funds.
Embezzlers: Also in Tulsa County, election board secretary Harmon Moore was sent to prison in 1987 for embezzling public funds. He was convicted of converting $16,713 in public funds to his own use. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Leo Winters: State Treasurer And Banking Secrets

  In 1974 A federal grand jury indicted Winters, for, among other things, of using his position to extort campaign money from banks. Winters was acquitted of four counts during a well publicized trial, and other counts later were dropped. A few weeks after that, he was re-elected. 

  Winters served five terms and was trying for a sixth when his 1986 campaign was doomed by allegations that a Tulsa bank may have written off millions in loans to him.

  In 1986, many Oklahoma banks were on the brink of default from a crash in the oil markets, worldwide. Yet State Treasure Winters, decided to deposit a massive amount of state funds into a non-interest bearing account in Liberty Bank (now known as Banc One).
The Oklahoman reported:

Former Rep. Joe Manning of Cushing led the three-man field in the Republican primary and Rep. Bob Brown of Claremore finished second.

Manning, 39, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1974 to 1982 and now is business manager of the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma. In that job, Manning says, he invests and manages the foundation's assets.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lettergate: Tulsa Mayor Terry Young's Forgery Scandal

 
  When a high official gets involved in wrongdoing, it's usually the cover up that gets him in big trouble.

 The Democrats were 'circling the wagons' when Finis Smith was convicted. They knew it could lead to election losses. When several Democrats wrote to the judge in the Finis Smith trial, they begged for leniency for Smith. That revelation jeopardized several Democrat elected officials.
  Well, evidently some operatives thought it would be good strategy to make the Republicans look like their prosecutions were politically motivated. So another Republican federal prosecutor was targeted for a Democrat dirty trick. A letter was forged with the signature of Federal Prosecutor, Layn Phillips. The Federal investigation traced the source of the letter to a typewriter in Democrat mayor Terry Young's office. Everyone denied involvement and nothing was ever proven.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Senate Pro Temp, Finis Smith Goes To Prison For Fraud


 Senate President, Finis Smith, of West Tulsa, was caught with an unreported foreign bank account which he's not reported on his taxes. He and his wife both were sentenced to prison. They owned a Tag Agency. He was disbarred from his law practice.

  The Tulsa World said;
1985
  Former Oklahoma Senate  president pro-tem Finis Smith, along with his wife Doris,  were convicted by a federal court jury here on felony counts  of mail and tax fraud, conspiracy and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts. Finis and Doris Smith, each got six years, and were sent to a federal prison in Texas.