Tourism Department admits illegal financial actions

The Associated Press and KOKH-TV - October 27, 2017 1:28 pm

Tourism Department Deputy Director Claudia Conner (left) and Executive Director Dick Dutton (Right) at a commission meeting which detailed financial problems uncovered at the agency (Phil Cross/KOKH)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma Department of Tourism has taken fault for violating state law in how it handled taxpayer money.

The agency’s director, Dick Dutton, read a prepared statement to commissioners Wednesday that addressed allegations stemming from a KOKH-TV investigation.

Dutton admitted to the agency making illegal payments from the department’s clearing account. The account is used to move money from local bank accounts into the agency’s general fund, with some exceptions.

The department used the account to make settlement payments to employees, which hid the payments from the agency’s general revenue accounting statements.

Dutton also said that a former financial officer had signed checks in advance and emailed copies to other employees. He said the checks have been voided and the department’s accounts are being monitored.

 

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