Oklahoma Tourism Claims Swadley’s Tried To “Mislead” State, Foggy Bottom Kitchen Files Countersuit
News 9 - July 28, 2022 6:48 am
OKLAHOMA CITY –
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department filed more robust claims against Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen, which the state had contracted to renovate and manage state park restaurants.
The state abruptly canceled its contract with Swadley’s FBK after receiving heavy criticism for guaranteeing to cover the company’s losses and pay additional monthly management fees.
Related: Lawmakers Call On State Tourism Director To Resign Amid Swadley’s Controversy
Immediately after filing a lawsuit accusing Swadley’s of breaching its contract, Governor Kevin Stitt announced the resignation of Tourism Director Jerry Winchester.
The OTRD, represented by the Oklahoma State Attorney General’s Office, filed an amended petition this month alleging Swadley’s “overcharged” the state “for a number of items” related to the renovation of state park lodges.
“Swadley’s submitted invoices for reimbursement of equipment that it never delivered to any of the restaurants,” the lawsuit claims.
The state also alleges Swadley’s failed to produce tax and other financial documents when requested.
Swadley’s narrative of events, detailed in a counterclaim, are starkly different from that of the state.
The OTRD’s effort to refurbish park lodges was an “expensive political vanity project,” Swadley’s attorneys wrote.
Swadley’s denied any wrongdoing, calling the state’s claims “a litany of misleading, self-serving, and in some instances, categorically false, allegations aimed at passing the buck to a respected small family-owned business.”
The company denied ever overcharging the state, and said Swadley’s officials actually returned more than $743,000 to the state after discovering it had over-invoiced the OTRD.
The Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the case. An attorney for Swadley’s did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
Another Tourism official involved in the Swadley’s contract resigned this month.
Katherine Nichols stepped down as CFO of the OTRD in July for “personal reasons,” according to her resignation letter.
“I know this is a difficult time for all and I wish you and the agency all the best in the future,” Nichols wrote on July 12.