Just hours ago, the State Auditor & Inspector's office released a stinging audit report in the Oklahoma County Sheriff's office. Sheriff John Whetsel oversees the deadliest county jail in the nation, suffering more inmate deaths than all of Texas. Even before this study was conducted, there were many calls for Whetsel's resignation. Citing several cases of "mismanagement," a state lawmaker is calling on the Oklahoma County sheriff to step down. Rep. Mike Christian (R-Oklahoma City) called a press conference at the state capitol ast winter, promising his request was not political. Christian is running against Sheriff John Whetsel for his position in November. "Let me be up front first: This is not about a campaign for sheriff," Christian said to open his press conference. "This has nothing to do with the building but simply mismanagement at every level." Instead, Christian sees the announcement as his duty, as chair of the House Public Safety Committee. He cited two inmate deaths as reason to question Whetsel's leadership.
Download your copy of the audit report.
Here's what State Auditor Gary Jones had to say, in his summary. WHY the SAI CONDUCTED THIS AUDIT "The Honorable David Prater, District Attorney for the 7th District of Oklahoma, requested the assistance of the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector, under the authority of 74 O.S. 212(H), in conducting an audit of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office in connection with allegations of financial mismanagement." KEY FINDINGS
- Inmate healthcare contracts entered into by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office created debt obligated for payment by the County. These contracts were not fully encumbered and the Sheriff chose not to pay the contracts even though funds were available at the time payment was due. (Pg. 2)
- Obligations of previous fiscal years were paid with subsequent year funds in violation of law. (Pg. 7)
- It appears unallowable costs may have been charged against the 'Aggregate Limit’ of the Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. contract. (Pg. 9)
- Financial data utilized in the calculation of the inmate average daily rate of incarceration included unallowable costs. (Pg. 13)
- Two outside organizations are managed by Sheriff Office employees during County work hours. (Pg. 17)
- Donations received by the County Sheriff’s Office were not presented and accepted by the Board of County Commissioners. (Pg. 17)
- Approximately $900,000 was spent on the purchase of Sheriff vehicles during a time when other obligations of the Sheriff’s Office were not being met. (Pg. 23)
- For the FY2015, the Oklahoma County Reserve Deputy program cost approximately $263,855.39. (Pg. 24)
- The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office accepted a donation of Sheriff Whetsel’s personal vehicle, after a $28,000 payment was made to Sheriff Whetsel’s spouses’ Trust. (Pg. 28)