Claremore Daily Progress

April 2, 2014

State auditor reveals possible fraud

Rogers County officials Helm, Anderson, Thacker and Pinkerton-Baker named

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones determined officials in Rogers County violated state law, submitted fictitious invoices, back dated records and failed to properly document $5 million in federal FEMA funds.

The auditors also found officials utilized county equipment for personal use, conducted work on private property, solicited vendors for gifts and accepted illegal campaign contributions.

“Rogers County of all counties has seen the result of what happens when things are not handled properly and when people neglect their responsibilities [speaking of the multi-million dollar Material Services lawsuit],” Jones said.  “When people are doing things in a manner that costs more money, ultimately it is the taxpayers that pay the bill.”

The 2011 audit released today details possible instances of misappropriation or fraud.

“We are talking about transparency and accountability,” Jones said. “The citizens are demanding it.”

The state auditor’s office began the annual review in May 2013, taking nearly a year to complete, due to the complexity of the issues.

Rogers County Commissioners Mike Helm and Kirt Thacker, Treasurer Cathy Pinkerton-Baker and Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson were all named individually based on the findings.

The 66-page document lists the material findings, which could potentially result in further action.

“Before a lot of things were going undetected or people were not watching. We are watching and it is our job to hold folks accountable and that is what we are doing,” Jones said. “We are the reporting agency. It is up to somebody else to enforce. We are going to turn it over to the appropriate agency for enforcement.”

The Claremore Progress will publish a series of stories further detailing the auditor's findings in the coming days. 

 

Find the full audit here.