Claremore Daily Progress

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April 20, 2014

Rogers County Audit:

Anderson solicits vendor donations



These instances and others were included in the reports by the Claremore Progress in 2012.
Anderson solicited donations for parties often referred to as “appreciation dinners,” including door prizes and other gifts provided by vendors.
Public records show Anderson organized transactions, including an event on March 19, 2010 at the Hard Rock Casino in Catoosa.
Emails obtained by open record request give specific details of payment arrangements that were made by Anderson with vendors.
On March 9, 2010, Anderson wrote to the Hard Rock Casino, “Have any of the vendors given you their credit card information?”
Anderson also detailed a concern of one vendor: “I have a vendor that is wondering if he can make the check or credit card payment to the hotel only. His company is questioning him because of the casino name on it.”
In addition to the solicitation, Helm sent a thank you notes dated March 28, 2011, to vendors, including Trent Taylor at Time Striping. 
The letter states, “Your generosity never ceases to amaze me. You have come through time and again for Rogers County. The door prizes you have provided for our Christmas party were greatly appreciated. Again, our event was a tremendous success because of you. We can never survive without our partners. Sincerely, Mike Helm.”
The letters detail the relationship as Helm states, “your generosity has astounded us once again,” and “On behalf of the employees and officers of Rogers County, we thank you.”
The Progress obtained the letters by open records request from Helm’s computer located in the Rogers County Courthouse.
Multiple events were hosted by Rogers County District 2 and paid for by vendors, including an event at Rogers State University in March of 2012.
During the event, door prizes were given to employees and, again, there is no record of payment by Rogers County for the event, according to officials in the Rogers County Clerk’s office.
Rogers County’s own policy handbook addresses this issue. Under the guidelines for appropriate conduct, the policy states, “Types of behavior and conduct that Rogers County considers inappropriate include, but are not limited to the following…soliciting or accepting gratuities.”
Anderson’s emails detail not only the solicitation for these events but others. She asked vendors for funds to sponsor the summer picnic hosted by the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma.

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