Claremore Daily Progress

Verdigris

August 26, 2013

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

Helm, Thacker and DA Steidley among targets

CLAREMORE —

Sheriff Scott Walton and five other residents of Rogers County petitioned the district court Monday for a grand jury investigation of two county commissioners, the district attorney and three of her assistants.

The petition contained a potpourri of issues for inquiry, ranging from bidding procedures by Commissioners Kirt Thacker and Mike Helm to possible “oppression and corruption in office and willful misadministration” by District Attorney Janice Steidley.

Also named in the requested grand jury investigation were Assistant District Attorneys Bryce Lair, David Iski and Timothy Wantland.

“The petition is a way for the issues to be looked at by a clear set of eyes,” said Walton. “It is what needed to be done.” 

Thacker, chairman of the county commissioner, was the only target of the petition to comment immediately, although all of them were contacted by The Daily Progress. He said the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation had already investigated the bidding and related issues listed in the petition, “and found there was no criminal or unethical activity.”

Joining Sheriff Walton in submitting the petition were Claremore police Det. John Singer, who is suing the district attorney in federal court on grounds she sought to destroy his professional reputation; Claremore police Lt. Steve Cox; local businessmen Russell Guilfoyle and Myron Grubowski, who are frequent critics of the commissioners; and Billy D. Jones, the father of two juvenile rape victims.

The petition was sent to Chief Justice Tom Colbert of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to determine if it meets state requirements and, if so, clearing the way for the petitioners to begin collecting the 3,000 registered voter signatures needed to convene the grand jury. There are approximately 49,000 registered voters in Rogers County.

Colbert has three days to decide the legality of the petition, and the petitioners then have 45 days to gather the required number of signatures.

Text Only
Verdigris
  • Outstanding students Verdigris, Claremore graduates recognized for ‘outstanding’ achievement at OU

    A Verdigris High School graduate and two Claremore High School graduates were recognized Friday and Saturday night for their academic and leadership achievements at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 9628597web.jpg Opponents can’t score on OSU’s Battenfield

    Oklahoma State freshman pitcher Blake Battenfield continues to impress Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday with his perfect 0.00 earned-run average this season.

    March 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cardinals fall in 3A semifinals; Lady Cards eliminated in quarters

    The Verdigris Cardinals saw their Class 3A State Tournament journey end Friday afternoon in the Final Four.
    Oklahoma City Centennial eliminated the No. 4-ranked Cardinals, 62-51 in the semifinals at the Big House in Oklahoma City.

    March 16, 2014

  • DSC_0179web.jpg Cards fly into 3A State Tournament

    Verdigris junior guard Cade Upshaw lives for March Madness.
    The 5-foot-10 sharp-shooter overcame a sluggish performance in a loss to Tahlequah Sequoyah to bounce back for a 20-point outing in the Cardinals’ 72-42 win over Antlers Saturday evening in the Class 3A Area Tournament at Checotah Event Center.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0098web.jpg ‘Soaring to State’

    In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
    The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0168web.jpg 3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Tahlequah Sequoyah wins nail-biter over No. 4 Verdigris

    The Tahlequah Sequoyah Indians pulled the upset Friday night and punched their ticket to the Class 3A State Tournament.
    Behind Caisen Green’s game-high 26 points and B.J. Leach’s 16 points, the Indians roared past No. 4 Verdigris, 64-55 in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • HANSLOVANweb.jpg 3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Verdigris battles Tahlequah Sequoyah in Checotah

    Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan drained two key 3-pointers during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Finals that provided a spark and a huge win over Vian.
    Hanslovan, who is accustomed to winning state championships in soccer, will look to move the No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals one step closer toward a berth in the 3A State Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the area finals against Tahlequah Sequoyah at Checotah High School.

    March 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Winter March 2014 Winter’s last gasp?

    A powerful winter storm brought sleet and snow to Rogers County Sunday, leaving roads in hazardous condition and all schools were closed on Monday.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0063web.jpg ‘Night to Remember’

    Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell may have won the points column, but Inola’s Lexi Williams and the Lady Longhorns stole the spotlight at the buzzer.
    Williams, who transferred into Inola this year from Bixby and is the daughter of Lady Longhorns’ coaches Donnie and Lori Martin, made Thursday night one to remember in Rogers County.

    February 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0093web.jpg Cards rout Inola 98-80

    There was no denying Thursday night that the Verdigris Cardinals had no plans of sharing their Will Rogers Conference Championship.
    Behind Cade Upshaw’s game-high 27 points and the accurate 3-point shooting of freshman forward Brewster Peacock, the Class 3A No. 4 Cardinals swarmed over Inola, 98-80.

    February 15, 2014 1 Photo