Supreme Court rules against former legislator in lawsuit against Todd Hiett
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled this week that former Oklahoma City Rep. Mike Reynolds lacked legal standing to file suit accusing Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Todd Hiett of violating the state constitution because he sits on a bank’s board of directors.
“Action dismissed for want of standing,” stated the ruling. The court also denied Hiett’s lawsuit response in which he asked that attorney fees and costs be held as a “sanction” against Reynolds.
However, the court did not rule on the legal and constitutional record raised by Reynolds in a lawsuit filed in July. It only ruled that the State Attorney General, Governor and District Attorney had the legal right to file suit.
“JE: ORIG JURIS ASSUMED. ETC. PETR SEEKS WRIT OF QUO WARRANTO DECLARING RESP’S SEAT ON CORP COMM VACANT DUE TO RESP’S VIOLATION OF SELF-EXECUTING PROVISIONS ETC. PETR HAS PLED NO FACTS SUGGESTING HE IS ENTITLED TO OFFICE OF CORP COMM. PETR ACKNOWLEDGES HE DOES NOT MEET CT’S TRADITIONAL REQS ETC. ACTION DSMD FOR WANT OF STANDING. RESP’S REQ FOR ATTY FEES AND COSTS AS SANCTION ETC. DENIED. CONCUR: DARBY, CJ, KANE, VCJ, KAUGER, WINCHESTER, EDMONDSON, COMBS, GURICH, KUEHN, JJ. CONCURS BY REASON OF STARE DECISIS: ROWE, J. C/ATTYS CORP COMM”
Reynolds had accused Commissioner Hiett of violating the constitution because he continued to sit on the board of directors at SpiritBank, a membership that the former legislator contended was prohibited by the Oklahoma Constitution.
Reynolds argued in his lawsuit that a conflict of interest existed in financial dealings the bank had with oil and gas companies that are regulated also by the Corporation Commission.
“My interpretation and most peoples’ interpretation of the (Oklahoma) Constitution finds Commissioner Hiett in violation of the constitution not just because he serves on the SpiritBank board but the activities SpiritBank undertakes that come before the Corporation Commission,” Reynolds said at the time of the filing of the lawsuit.
Another former Republican lawmaker, Mike Ritze of Broken Arrow and Todd Hagopian, a Libertarian who ran against Hiett in his 2020 re-election campaign joined Reynolds in the lawsuit by filing an amicus brief. Ritze and Hagopian were later dismissed from the suit in a ruling by the high court.
Commissioner Hiett responded at the time through his attorneys that Reynolds had no standing on the issue and legally could not ask to have Hiett removed from office. He also called the lawsuit “frivolous”
Hiett also answered that he avoided any conflict of interest at the bank board by recusing from any commission cases that involved companies with SpiritBank bonds.
The Commissioner did not respond to an OK Energy Today email request for a reaction to the ruling.
Reynolds also did not offer a response.