AG asks for investigative audit of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

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One thing is clear about Oklahoma’s new Attorney General Gentner Drummond—-he’s not wasting time focusing on trouble spots he thinks exist in Oklahoma government.

On Wednesday, he announced he requested state Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd carry out an investigative audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, largely because of the swirling allegations around the agency.

“I have had many conversations over the past few months with legislators, community leaders, private citizens and state employees who have expressed a wide array of concerns with the financial conduct of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (“OTA”),” Drummond wrote in the March 15 letter to Byrd.

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“These concerns include but are not limited to improper transfers between the OTA and the Department of Transportation; improper contracting and purchasing practices; and inadequate internal financial controls.”

In December, a Cleveland County district judge held that the OTA had willfully violated Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act because of vague wording in its January and February meeting agendas.

Drummond said that violation is particularly troubling.

“Such a blatant disregard for openness and transparency suggests to me a willingness to engage in any manner of unlawful conduct,” he wrote.

The audit request comes amid Sunshine Week, which this year runs March 12-18. The annual, nationwide event promotes public access to information and open government.

The Attorney General’s letter to Auditor Byrd can be read here.

Source: press release