Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

November 15, 2012

Caught and Warned: Will Thacker and Helm continue their misdeeds?

CLAREMORE — The first wave of legal judgment has arrived in the misdeeds of Rogers County Commissioners Kirt Thacker and Mike Helm.

First Assistant District Attorney Ben Loring of the 13th Judicial District, who was appointed by Attorney General Scott Pruitt, released his first findings of his investigation.
He sternly warns Thacker and Helm about bid splitting county contracts.
He cites four purchase orders regarding road striping projects — Purchase Order #003951 ($9,965.00, dated Nov. 20, 2009) and Purchase Order #004318 ($9,993.00, dated Dec. 7, 2009); Purchase Order #003691 ($9,927.00 dated Nov. 9, 2009) and Purchase Order #4322 ($9,600, dated Dec. 7, 2009). These were the only purchase orders the OSBI and Loring dealt with due to the statute of limitations.
“Please be advised that after reviewing the OSBI investigation into this matter, it is my opinion that each of you violated the intent of what is commonly called the “bid splitting” law (19 O. S. § 1501(A)(3)(a)) and there is even some evidence that would indicate that each of you did so with specific and knowing intent,” writes Loring.
However, Loring blames that statute for not filing charges against Thacker and Helm.
They did break the law, but there is nothing he can do about it. In other words, he cannot guarantee a conviction.
“However, it is also my opinion that the statute that prohibits this type of action is poorly written,  and it would be difficult to successfully prosecute either of you under the fact situation as I understand it. Consequently, we are not filing any charges at this time on these four Purchase Orders,” writes Loring.
He acknowledges both Thacker and Helm have received training about when public bidding is required, but despite that training they choose to ignor state law. Loring say they should consult their District Attorney’s office.
“We agree with the SA&I (State Auditor and Inspector) interpretation and you are hereby put on notice that if you should have a similar situation present itself again in the future, you should consult with your District Attorney before taking actions like you did in this case,” Loring writes.

Text Only
Our View
  • Burrage, Sean.jpg Senate Review

    I can’t imagine that there would be very many politicians who would say they didn’t think public education was important.  I’m sure if you polled the legislature, 100 percent would say it’s a top priority.  But it’s one thing to talk the talk—it’s another to walk the walk.  

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sherrerBenweb.jpg Public Education:  The vine must be watered

    Monday’s rally for public education was the single most exciting event I’ve had the opportunity to experience in my 10 years in the legislature.  

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burrage, sean.tiff Senate review by Sean Burrage

    Hailey Mathis is studying political science and history at the University of Oklahoma. She’s one of a very select group of college students each year who have the opportunity to learn about government and public service through an internship at the State Senate.  

    April 4, 2011 1 Photo

  • Kim Dabney Autistic in Oklahoma

    Since the 1970’s, April hosts Autism Awareness Month to highlight the fastest growing epidemics of our time. Just last week, the Center for Disease Control announced a startling statistic, 1 in 68 children are suffering with autism.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kim Dabney Autism awareness did not save Avonte

    Every April since the 1970’s due to an abruptly rising condition in children across the country, we observe Autism Awareness Month.  According to government figures, the rapid increase in autism, unheard of prior to the 1940’s, skyrocketed from 1 in 10,000 children to the latest estimates of 1 in 68.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Randy Cowling John D. Williams: Claremore’s Progressive Citizen of the Year

    There are few opportunities to make choices that will guide the future direction of our lives, let alone the impact on our community.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • sherrerBenweb.jpg Education Rally: All about accountability

    The education rally planned at the State Capitol on March 31 is needed to focus public attention on the crises our public schools are experiencing.  

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 9.10-burrage,-sean-2007-0105.jpg Senate Review

    If you were raising children in the 1950’s or before, you had a tremendous fear that never crosses the mind of parents today—polio.  At its worst, the disease could cause permanent muscle paralysis and even death.  1952 was considered the height of the polio epidemic, with more than 60,000 cases and 3,000 deaths reported in the United States.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BAILEYDABNEY8-2009.tif Markwayne Mullin, Citizen Legislator

    When our nation’s Founding Fathers deliberated the governmental structure for this great nation, they clearly intended to populate Congress with citizen legislators. James Madison described the ideal representative as one “called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature and continued in appointment for a short period of office.”

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Sheriff speaks out

    In a recent edition of the weekly Oologah Lake Leader, which I will never respect again, its owner, John Wylie crossed yet another line of integrity. He repeatedly accused the late Mickey Perry of being a dirty cop

    March 9, 2014