Claremore Daily Progress

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August 26, 2013

Sheriff, 5 others seek grand jury probe of Rogers County officials

Helm, Thacker and DA Steidley among targets

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Normally, the petition’s legality would be acted on by Chief Rogers County Judge Dwayne Steidley, but his first-cousin is DA Steidley’s husband and thus he forwarded the matter to the state Supreme Court. Judge Steidley said he acted “in the best interest of the court system of Rogers County.”

The petition questions whether commissioners Helm and Thacker violated state procurement laws in the purchase of $100,000 worth of equipment and services in 2009, then accepted gifts and meals from some of the vendors. It also asks for a determination on whether Helm took campaign contributions from companies that received millions of dollars in county contracts.

The petition raises several questions about Steidley and Lair, including wiretapping employee workspaces in 2011 and falsely reporting a crime by accusing Singer of perjury.  It includes a possible violation of the Open Records Management Act by Iski and Steidley for what the petitioners said was ordering another person to destroy government emails.

Wantland is named in the filing for a potential violation of the Oklahoma Victim’s Rights Act. The petition questions whether he informed the parents of a child sex abuse victim of a plea bargain in the case as well as their right to victim impact statements.

The petition also asks the grand jury to look into claims Steidley allowed child sex abuse cases and other prosecutions to be delayed for years, and whether she tampered with witnesses in another case.

Walton said once the petition is signed by a judge the organizers will begin collecting signatures. He said petitioners have established an email account -- rogerscounty2013@hotmail.com  -- and a Facebook page, Grand Jury 2013.

“The quality of life in Rogers County is stellar and then some,” the sheriff said. “It is unfortunate to think people don’t have peace of mind to know their county government is clean and operating the way it should be.”

Here’s the website link to the petition for the grand jury investigation

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