Monday, December 26, 2016

Senator Brinkley Embezzles Over $1Million To Feed Gambling Addiction

  Rick Brinkley was the heir-apparent to the Pro Tem office of the Oklahoma Senate, in 2015. But in late April his Tulsa Better Business Bureau completed an audit which alleged that Brinkley had embezzled over $1 million dollars over a period of about a decade if his leadership of the watchdog institution.
  He immediately resign committee chairmanships for the remainder of that session. Brinkley was expected to succeed Sen. Brian Bingman as the next Oklahoma State Senate President Pro Tempore. 

  Brinkley, in August 2015, initially resigned his seat effective December 31, 2015, citing personal reasons. The resignation came as Brinkley was being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on accusations of embezzlement from the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa where he had formerly served as Chief Operating Officer.  At the time of his resignation he was being sued by the BBB, with the organization alleging in court filings that Brinkley used the money for “his mortgage, pool cleaner, personal credit card invoices, and to support a hidden gambling habit, in an amount believed to be in excess of $1,800,000.” He resigned, effective immediately, nine days later upon agreeing with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to five wire fraud counts and one false income tax return count related to the embezzlement charges.

At the time, Brinkley was also pastoring a church in his Owasso-area district.

Friday, December 23, 2016

At Least We Are 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.
Former Rep. Mickey Edwards
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. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

State Auditor, Jeff McMahan, Goes To Prison

The Daily Oklahoman posted coverage of the McMahan scandal. Here is an exerpt:
  Jeff McMahan was sentenced  to eight years and a month for taking bribes from a southeast Oklahoma businessman. Wife, Lori McMahan, was sentenced to six years and six months on related charges.
"I am saddened when the political process is corrupted. Seeing people imprisoned generates mixed prosecutorial emotions,” U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling said Friday.
Jeff McMahan, a Democrat, was accused of showing favoritism as auditor to businessman Steve Phipps in exchange for cash, jewelry, campaign contributions, fishing trips, and trips to places like New Orleans and Boston.
The former state official was convicted of three felony counts June 14. He resigned two days later.
Sperling said after the sentencing that the McMahans were convicted of conspiracy to commit "dishonest public service mail fraud” and of racketeering through illicit interstate travel.
The charges stemmed from an investigation by the FBI, the IRS and the state Ethics Commission.  Sperling said Friday he was "impressed” the prosecution led to legal reform.
"The state auditor’s office no longer has authority over abstract companies,” he said. "A huge temptation towards corruption has been statutorily removed.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

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.