Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Grand River Dam Authority Records Subpoenaed in Probe of Former Okla. State Senator

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Grand River Dam Authority Records Subpoenaed in Probe of Former Okla. State Senator

Article excerpt

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed thousands of pages of records from the Grand River Dam Authority as part of an investigation into former state Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan and others, documents obtained through a Journal Record open records request show.

Morgan, Oklahoma City attorney Martin Stringer and lobbyist William Andrew Skeith were indicted March 30 on charges of conspiracy and extortion. Morgan was additionally charged with accepting bribes. The 63-count indictment accused Morgan of accepting more than $403,000 in bogus legal fees in exchange for favorable treatment of three companies before the Oklahoma Legislature and public officials.

Grand River Dam Authority CEO Kevin Easley resigned on April 13, citing an undisclosed private-sector opportunity.

An Oct. 7 subpoena from U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats asked the GRDA for records of any dealings it had with Morgan, Stringer, Skeith or power company Tenaska Inc.

"I really can't comment on that at all," said Bob Troester, Coats' spokesman. "On subpoenas we issue, we don't confirm as to why they were sent or as to their purpose."

The subpoena also asked for all documents relating to two bills from the 2005 legislative session. One of the bills, Senate Bill 602, would have expanded Easley's authority as GRDA general manager.

The measure would have transferred authority over classification and compensation of employees from the GRDA board to its general manager. It also would have increased GRDA's authority to issue revenue bonds from $1.4 billion to $2 billion. At the time, Easley said the higher limit was needed to pay for more generating capacity.

Written by then-Sen. Glenn Coffee, who is now Oklahoma's secretary of state, SB 602 ultimately fell dormant in a Senate committee. But another proposal, SB 620, written by state Sen. Charles Wyrick, D-Fairland, and state Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, was signed into law in May 2005.

Under SB 620, the GRDA became exempt from Oklahoma surplus property disposal and competitive bidding laws, the latter in relation to construction of power plants. …

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