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.