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Two former Kay County commissioners charged after audit report

Team Radio Marketing Group - April 3, 2017 10:52 am

Following an investigative audit of the Kay County Board of County Commissioners by State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones’ office, two former commissioners are facing criminal charges in Kay County District Court.
Former commissioners Dee Schieber, 64, of Kildare, and Tyson Rowe, 37, of Blackwell, were charged Friday in connection with the findings of the audit.
Schieber is charged with seven criminal misdemeanor charges of willful violation of law regulating official conduct.
Rowe is charged with 16 felony and misdemeanor charges, including racketeering; embezzlement by a county officer; embezzlement by a public officer; and willful violation of law regulating official conduct
The Honorable Mike Fields, District Attorney for the 4th District of Oklahoma, requested the assistance of the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector in conducting an audit of the Kay County Board of County Commissioners in connection with allegations of improper bidding and vendor preference.
The audit was conducted by Special Investigative Unit and the findings were released in December 2015 in an online report, https://www.sai.ok.gov/Search%20Reports/database/KayCoBoCCWebFinal.pdf.
Investigators focused on the period from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2014.
Among the key findings in the report:
  • Kay County awarded more than $5 million in public construction and reconstruction projects in apparent violation of the Public Competitive Bidding Act.
  • Kay County utilized term bid contracts to circumvent the Public Competitive Bidding Act. Of 10 contracts reviewed, ranging from over $13,000 to $1.9 million, all had been awarded through the County’s term bids or through no bids at all.
  • Commissioner Dee Schieber, BIA Regional Roads Engineer Tom Simpson, and River Ridge Construction collaborated in the execution of the $1.7 million North Pecan Road project. Commissioner Schieber entered into an agreement without bids and outside of his statutory authority. Kay County did not obtain a contract from the vendor, failed to obtain proof of bonding or insurance from the contractor, and paid $350,000 in projected “mobilization” costs to “cover up-front expenses”.
  • Kay County overpaid River Ridge Construction more than $500,000 as part of the Blackwell Wind Farm Roads project.
  • In 2014, Commissioner Tyson Rowe and River Ridge Construction’s owner circumvented purchasing laws in Kay County’s acquisition of a $180,000 vibratory pile driver. After acquiring the pile driver, the County continued to allow River Ridge Construction to use it on county projects.
  • Commissioners Tyson Rowe and Dee Schieber appeared to have manipulated the bidding process to purchase, trade, finance, and sell trailers. Over the course of a year, Kay County, Irwin Trailer, and River Ridge Construction participated in the buying and selling of almost a dozen belly dump trailers.
  • Commissioner Tyson Rowe’s private business subcontracted with River Ridge Construction to perform work for Kay County on two projects totaling nearly $20,000, in apparent violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.

Bond for Schieber was set at $25,000. Bond for Rowe was set at $100,000.

Court records show Garfield County District Attorney is the prosecutor in the cases. Charges were filed by the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s office.

 

 

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