Friday, December 6, 2019

Oklahoma Legislator, Randy Terrill; Found Guilty of Political Bribery

Former Speaker, Randy Terrill
  Rep., Randy Terrill was convicted in 2013 after prosecutors said he offered a bribe to Leftwich, a Democrat, to withdraw from her race for Senate so Terrill’s friend, Rep. Mike Christian, could seek the office.
  Terrill was sentenced to 1 year in prison and required to $5,000 fine. Leftwich was found guilty of soliciting a bribe during a bench trial — the judge found her guilty instead of a jury — and was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered never to seek a job with the state or run for public office again.
Former Sen. Debbe Leftwich
  Prosecutors said Terrill pushed officials with the state Medical Examiner’s Office to create an $80,000 per year position for Leftwich.
  The court rejected Terrill’s claim that a candidate for office cannot withdraw from office without filing a notice of withdrawal with the proper election board.
  “Taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the state, any rational trier of fact could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Terrill bribed Leftwich by offering her a thing of value which caused her to withdraw from her reelection race,” Smith wrote.
  Terrill, from Moore, served in the state House from 2004 to 2012. Leftwich, of Oklahoma City, was a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 2003 until 2010.
  Both Leftwich and Terrill had appealed the District Court’s ruling, claiming that Leftwich was never a candidate for office, because she had not filed for re-election with the state Election Board. Records showed, however, that Leftwich had begun to raise money for a reelection campaign.
  Writing for the majority, Presiding Judge Clancy Smith said the law and evidence from the bribery and corruption trial of former state Rep. Randy Terrill did not require relief.
  The court, in a separate opinion, also turned back an appeal by former state Senator Debbe Leftwich.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Joel-lyn McCormick, had asked that Fisher get seven more years in prison for his breach of the public trust. The judge decided the punishment after Fisher pleaded no contest to accepting bribes. The bribery trial had been set to begin Feb. 23.

Fisher was ordered to report March 2, 2009 to the Riverside Intermediate Sanction Facility in Tulsa. He must pay for his stay. The judge said Fisher can participate there in a work-release program. Fisher will be on probation for four years and six months after his release and must complete 150 hours of community service. He also must pay $5,000 to the state Victims Compensation Fund.

The judge agreed Fisher’s future already had been ruined by his earlier felony conviction in a campaign-corruption case. After losing an appeal, Fisher spent about 14 months in prison in that case. The judge noted prison records show Fisher apparently suffered the embarrassment of his grandchildren seeing him imprisoned there.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

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..

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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.

Monday, November 11, 2019

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 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

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.

Friday, November 1, 2019

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..