Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GloverGate and the Muskogee Phoenix Coverup

(picture from the Oklahoman website)

A controversy is beginning to brew over Muskogee highway contractor Craig Glover and his interaction with State Sen. Kenneth Corn (D-Poteau) and State Sen. Earl Garrison (D-Muskogee).

Randy Ellis with the Daily Oklahoman wrote an article detailing how Glover, twice rejected by ODOT's prequalifications committee due to ties to his father's suspended company*, contacted Garrison and Corn in 2007 to intervene on his behalf. After communicating with the aforementioned state senators, ODOT had a sudden and complete change of mind about Glover, who received the credentials he needed to bid for state projects. Since that time, Glover's company has been awarded over $35M in road contracts, including almost $3M in federal stimulus monies.

(George Paul Glover pleaded no contest to using prohibited material on U.S. 64 and U.S. 59 in 2007, and intimidating a state grand jury witness. His company was subsequently suspended from bidding on state projects, and Craig Glover formed his own company a short while later.)

Two months before both state senators got involved, Craig and George Paul Glover gave a combined $1,250 to Earl Garrison's re-election campaign. Craig had also donated in 2002 to Corn's campaign. At the time, Sen. Corn was on the Senate Appropriations Committee and Sen. Garrison was on the Senate Transportation Committee.

The Daily Oklahoman also ran an editorial today that blasted the senators involvement.

However, there is another twist to the story.

When the Muskogee Phoenix ran the AP story, they conveniently neglected to mention Earl Garrison's involvement. The article that ran in the December 28th print edition of the Phoenix referred to two state senators, but only mentioned Kenneth Corn by name.

Scan of the Muskogee Phoenix article, with no mention of Garrison.

Why would the Phoenix not mention Earl Garrison, the local state senator (and the figure with the most local interest), but instead only mention Kenneth Corn, whose district is outside of the Phoenix circulation area? Why try to hide Garrison's involvement?

Also, did they really think no one would notice the absence of the second senator? Did they really think no one would question why Earl Garrison was not included?

UPDATE: According to sources, the Phoenix employee responsible for laying out the page with the article had to edit it in order for the article to fit. Still no explanation on why Garrison was completely cut out of the story.


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