Gov. Stitt cabinet member indicted for attempted bribery of an officer
Mike Seals - December 18, 2020 12:20 am
Witness alleges he thought it would help him become a tax commissioner
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – David Ostrowe, a member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet, has been indicted for attempted bribery of an officer.
Fifty-two-year-old Ostrowe serves as Stitt’s Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration.
Documents filed by Attorney General Mike Hunter in Oklahoma County District Court state that Ostrowe committed the crime of attempted bribery of an officer.
Hunter said in the documents that Ostrowe committed attempted bribery “by directing Oklahoma Tax Commissioners Steve Burrage and Charles Prater to waive the interest and penalties of JCG Futures, LLC, which were owed to the State of Oklahoma and if not compliant with this directive, appropriations to the Oklahoma Tax Commission would be withheld.”
JCG Futures is owned by former state senator Jason Smalley.
Ostrowe is alleged to have said that if the penalties and interests weren’t waived, “State Senator Roger Thompson would punish the Oklahoma Tax Commission.”
State tax commissioners voiced their concern to Stitt, who suggested that Hunter investigate.
Ostrowe attempted to influence an official action, but the attempt was “prevented or intercepted in the perpetration thereof,” Hunter said in the document.
A multi-county grand jury then issued the indictment against Ostrowe for one felony county.
Ostrowe could face up to five years in prison.
Regarding Ostrowe’s interest is in helping a company with tax problems, one witness told investigators he believes Ostrowe thought it would help him become a tax commissioner himself if he’s ever nominated for the position.
Smalley, who owns the company in question, said he only approached Thompson for advice.
As for Ostrowe’s alleged threat that Thompson would punish the Tax Commission if the tax fees weren’t waived, Thompson admits in the indictment to reaching out to Ostrowe to see if he could provide any assistance, however, Thompson said that’s advice he would have given anyone.
Stitt’s office issued the following statement in response to the indictment:
“Governor Stitt is aware of the allegations involving Secretary Ostrowe and takes them seriously. We are still working to obtain more information regarding the details of the situation. The governor has faith in the fairness of Oklahoma’s justice system which includes the presumption of innocence.” – Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Office