Sunday’s story about the financial ties between District Attorney Janice Steidley and Wylie Communications Inc. (WCI) of Oologah, and questions of conflict of interest involving its husband and wife principals, John M. Wylie II and Faith L. Wylie, who also own the Oologah Lake Leader, requires the following clarifications:
n DA Steidley said in a printed statement published in Sunday’s story that her relationship with WCI went back to September of 2012. She submitted to The Daily Progress copies of invoices submitted by her office to the PR company. The invoices show the relationship actually went back further, to March 15, 2012, when the district attorney approved a payment of $2,047.84 to WCI. for research and reports on Raley, Davidson & Co., and Paul Johanning, and for press release work. Other payments were approved by the DA to Wylie Communications on Sept. 20, 2012 ($645.00) for press release preparation. The invoice included a notation from John Wylie that, “We have waived time for Faith. This covers all work through today. Thank you for your business.”; Oct. 29, 2012 ($759.38) to meet, discuss OSBI investigation announcement press release, research and write press release, research and revise press release; Nov. 14, 2012 ($815.63) for press release for Jetta case; Feb. 5, 2013 ($225.00) for press release preparation for county commission bid splitting investigation; March 12, 2013 ($1,385.50) for research, review documents and discuss Giglio, sexual abuse case issues, meet and draft press response on child sex abuse case; April 29, 2013 ($378.75) to draft news release on rape case, discuss issues involving Channel 6 story and potentially confidential material. Review updated press release, review email, telephone conference, find and transmit documents. Total payment from DA’s office to WCI: $6,257.10. The invoices did not include any payments made by Janice Steidley personally or by her campaign committee to Wylie Communications. Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown was quoted in Sunday’s story as saying payments by DA Steidley to the PR firm amounted to about $8,000 over several months. John Wylie said in a Sept. 19, 2013, article in the couple’s Oologah Lake Leader that “WCI has openly performed public communications projects for Steidley personally, her political campaign committees, and the District Attorney’s office, Faith Wylie noted.”
n The Wylies took issue with the Sunday story statement that the business relationship between WCI and Janice Steidley was first disclosed as an editor’s footnote in the Oologah Lake Leader’s March 26, 2013, story on a libel suit filed by the DA against The Daily Progress. They said it was reported on Jan. 10, 2013, in Faith Wylie’s column in the Oologah Lake Leader. “We didn’t bother to go back further for previous examples in the newspaper, but there was earlier reporting,” the couple said.
n Sunday’s story misattributed the date of a disparaging comment by John Wylie against Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown and other active supporters of a citizens petition for a grand jury investigation of DA Steidley, three of her assistants and two county commissioners to Wylie’s Sept. 19, 2013, “news analysis” article in the Oologah Lake Leader that questioned the petition drive’s “legality and veracity.” The disparaging comment referred to in the Sunday story was made by John Wylie in a Sept. 26, 2013, editorial in which he characterized supporters of the petition drive as “clowns and conspiracy mongers salivating at the idea of getting a new district attorney by underhanded means instead of an election (which, without chicanery, they’d lose).”