It sounds a lot like the old “got extra asphalt-let me pave your driveway” scenario folks are warned about all the time by the Better Business Bureau.
But when Bob Portiss received a call from County Commissioner Randy Baldridge back in the fall of 2005 telling him the county was going to be paving Ray Davis Road near his house, he thought nothing about having “the contractor” do his driveway while they were in the area.
Portiss said he was in St. Louis when he received a call from Baldridge.
“I said, that’s great. ...
“I ask him how much to do the driveway,” Portiss said.
Baldridge got back with Portiss and let him know it would be $3,000.
“I said that’s great. Have them do it,” Portiss said.
Later when Portiss returned home, the paving was done. Portiss said he called Baldridge and asked him who he needed to pay.
“I made a check to a Mr. Brad Jones. I thought it was the contractor,” Portiss said.
All’s well that ends well, one would think. Not so, Portiss soon found out.
“Subsequently, I was approached by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investgation).”
The resulting indictment of Commissioner Baldridge on nine counts of fraud, conspiracy and more is “sad,” Portiss said. “It’s sad for Randy. It’s sad for the county.”
Portiss has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the matter. Portiss is the longtime director of the Port of Catoosa Authority.
According to the indictment released Tuesday by the U.S. District Court, 100 tons of asphalt was diverted from a delivery intended for the county project to pave Portiss driveway.
County Road Foreman Bruce Long, a coconspirator who has not yet been charged, approached independent contractor Brad Jones and requested that he “receive a personal check” from Portiss for “an asphalt job.”
Long allegedly instructed Jones to cash the check and give the proceeds to back to him.
Jones, court documents indicate, deposited the check from Portiss into a checking account
at the Tulsa Teachers Credit union. Jones then withdrew $3,000
in cash and gave it to Long. Jones received a “$300 fee for his
Later, Long allegedly paid an unidentified employee of the asphalt supplier, Bellco, a “$200 fee” and “tendered the remaining $2,500 to Defendant Baldridge.”
Neither Long, Jones or the Bellco employee have been charged.
Contact Clarice Doyle
at email@example.com or call