Claremore Daily Progress

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April 20, 2014

Rogers County Audit:

Anderson solicits vendor donations


A recent report issued by Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones documented Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson solicited donations from several Rogers County vendors.
Anderson requested contributions from vendors for parties and events on behalf of District 2 Commissioner Mike Helm, according to the report.
The 2011 and 2012 reports issued earlier this month highlight examples of the donations Anderson received and a lack of procedures established by the county to accept them in an open meeting.
Jones states the condition could result in “unrecorded transactions, misstated financial reports, misappropriation of funds, and could result in noncompliance with state statutes and constitutional provisions.”
He recommends all donations to county officials be received in accordance with state law under title 60 O.S. § 390. 
The Claremore Progress first reported the issue in September 2012, revealing public records detailing Anderson’s transactions with several of the county’s vendors, including Time Striping, Kirby Smith Machinery, Bruckner’s Truck Sales, Boxcer Equipment, Warren Cat, Donelson Construction and APAC.
The donations are connected to several of the auditor’s findings both past and present.
Time Striping was the subject of a previous bid splitting issue documented by the auditor’s office in 2012 for both Helm and Commissioner Kirt Thacker.
Boxcer Equipment was the subject of findings in the 2011/12 audits involving a $583,910 drill rig purchased from the vendor by Helm with FEMA funds. The purchase was labeled a waste of federal funds by the auditor’s office.
Some of the vendors solicited by Anderson for donations were campaign donors to her campaign as well as Helm’s.  
The auditor noted a company from Clever, Mo. (Donelson Construction), a corporation, donated to Helm’s campaign.  
Records from the Oklahoma Ethics Commission show the corporation also donated to Anderson’s campaign in May 2012. 
According to state law, corporations are prohibited from contributing. 
The auditor listed several findings that included transactions with the company, determining Helm and Anderson “circumvented the bidding process,” showed preference to the vendor and “did not comply with bid procedures outlined in state statutes.”

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