Thursday, January 12, 2023

Attorney General Drummond outlines priorities, takes on prosecution of Epic Charter officials

New Attorney General Gentner Drummond outlines priorities upon taking office

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 11, 2023) – Sworn into office Monday, new State Attorney General Gentner Drummond said he is getting to work immediately as Oklahoma’s chief legal and law enforcement officer. His top priorities include working to improve relations with Oklahoma’s Native American tribes, eliminating illegal marijuana growing operations in the state, prosecuting fraud and corruption, and ensuring governmental transparency.

“I am deeply honored that Oklahomans have entrusted me to serve as their Attorney General,” said Drummond, an attorney, rancher and businessman. “As a seventh-generation Oklahoman who deeply loves our state, I am committed to upholding the rule of law, protecting the rights of our people and promoting public safety.”

Improving Tribal relations

Drummond said he will prioritize working with tribal nations to restore a positive working relationship between them and the State of Oklahoma. Drummond cited gaming disputes and various issues related to McGirt v. Oklahoma present opportunities to collaborate with tribal leaders to reach workable solutions in the best interests of all Oklahomans.

“Oklahoma’s relationship with our great tribal nations has been damaged by divisive rhetoric and combative litigation,” he said. “Oklahoma must forge commonsense agreements with our tribal brothers and sisters that respect their sovereignty and ensure public safety. This is very simple and achievable; we all want good people protected and bad people in jail.”

Cracking down on Illegal marijuana grow operations

In the wake of Oklahoma’s legalization of medical marijuana, rural Oklahoma has been plagued by an onslaught of illegal marijuana growing operations, many of which have been traced back to organized crime and foreign nationals.

“These operations are in direct violation of our laws,” Drummond said. “I look forward to partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state to rid Oklahoma of illegal operations that threaten public safety and damage rural communities. Rural Oklahoma cannot keep paying the price for those who circumvent the law.”

Fighting a culture of corruption and scandal

Despite a flurry of recent cases allegedly involving state corruption, Oklahoma’s previous attorney general had left such investigations and potential prosecution to county district attorneys. Drummond said it is essential that the state Office of Attorney General not shirk its responsibility.

“Over the past several years, Oklahomans have been inundated with news stories of scandal and corruption,” he said. “It’s little wonder that so many citizens lose faith in their governmental institutions. Oklahoma taxpayers deserve true accountability for wrongdoing. My office will be working to investigate recent allegations and take appropriate action in the best interest of justice.”

Moreover, the new Attorney General vowed to strongly enforce the Open Records and Open Meetings Acts to ensure transparency in governance.

“Citizens should not have to sue their own government to receive records to which they are clearly entitled,” Drummond said. “As Attorney General, I will demand transparency. I plan to aggressively enforce Oklahoma’s open records and open meetings laws across state government.”

A Republican, Drummond is the 19th Oklahoman to serve as Attorney General.

Attorney General Drummond to take on prosecution of Epic Charter school founders, former CFO

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 11, 2023) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond has notified Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna that his office will take on the responsibility of prosecuting Epic Charter School’s two founders and their former chief financial officer.

"As you and I have discussed and as I have said publicly, I believe the Office of Attorney General should be responsible for the prosecution of this matter,” Drummond wrote Tuesday in a letter to Behenna. “These allegations involve tens of millions of Oklahoma tax dollars intended for public education, and the State has a strong interest in ensuring proper accountability. Given the statewide impact of this case on public education funding, I believe it is wholly appropriate that fall under the purview of the Office of Attorney General.”

Ben Harris, David Chaney and Josh Brock were charged by then-Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater last June with racketeering, embezzlement, obtaining money by false pretense and other allegations. The charges culminated after a multiyear investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and an audit by State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd.

The letter from Drummond to Behenna is available HERE.

1 comment:

  1. We will see how aggressively he prosecutes the Epic Charter School thieves, considering that Drummond's own campaign consultant Fount Holland is tied up in this massive web of criminal activity and named in the court documents!


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