Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tension Creates Division on OK Consumer Credit Board

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tension Creates Division on OK Consumer Credit Board

Article excerpt

A commission created to provide oversight for loan and mortgage companies in Oklahoma turned into a sideshow on Wednesday as divisions were evident during a meeting that included allegations of statute violations, questions about rules procedures and an inability to elect a vice-chairman despite having every member present.

A request by the chairman and the vice-chairman for an investigative and performance audit of the Department of Consumer Credit may have been the start of what has become a divisive atmosphere for members of the commission, many of whom have served for several years.

Commission on Consumer Credit chairman Spencer Stanley was joined by vice-chairman Jack Vaughan in seeking an audit from the state auditor and inspector's office on Oct. 19. The audit request was denied due to a lack of commission approval, but was later requested through the attorney general's office and is currently being conducted.

Several of the commissioners complained openly during Wednesday's meeting about the activities that led to the requested audit from the two commissioners. Darrell Chabino questioned why Stanley wouldn't just try to seek approval for an audit from the entire commission while Wanda DeBruler accused Stanley of abusing his power as the commission chairman.

Stanley refused to discuss the reasons for his seeking an audit of the department but did insist that once the audit was completed, the commissioners would understand the need for the audit. He said he had been advised not to try to seek commission approval, but was reluctant to name the source of the advice.

We were advised not to go to the commission, Stanley said.

The commission's general counsel, Walter Jenny, advised Stanley to hand over documents related to the audit request. He said any correspondence related to office expenditures were subject to open records discovery requests, and he noted that the department was paying for the audit.

Commissioner Dudley Gilbert refused to participate.

I do not want to be associated with a violation of the Open Records Act, Gilbert said.

Stanley said the attorney general's office and the state auditor and inspector's office would have to hand over the documents, including the letter from Stanley and Vaughan requesting the audit. …

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