Archive for the ‘Gene Stipe’ Category

Expanding the Scope of Term Limits

April 22, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

A key figure in the ongoing federal trial for former State Senator Gene Stipe pled guilty this week to crimes related to the abuse of your taxpayer dollars. Because of the ongoing criminal case, past abuses of Oklahoma’s old guard politicians are becoming less and less of a secret.

I believe one of the key reasons for the exposure of these past abuses has been the dramatic shift in power in Oklahoma politics brought on by term limits. Those of us who are fighting to put an end to the abuses of the past face an increased likelihood of success, due in part to the fact that there are many new elected officials who have taken office in the past few years. Many of these individuals have not been corrupted by the political process. Unlike some of their predecessors, they are not career politicians. Oklahoma’s term limit law allows all representatives and senators to serve only twelve years in the Legislature. After that, they are under a lifetime ban from holding office in the Legislature again. I believe this new generation of representatives and senators is fulfilling one of the important visions of our nation’s founding fathers – the vision in which an average citizen dedicates a few years of his or her life to representing the people as a citizen-statesman. At the end of the term of office, the legislator returns to the normal world to live under the very laws he or she helped to create. This helps to ensure that legislators will be more representative of the people instead of becoming a class of the political elite.

As a result of the term limits law, the Legislature is very different from just a few years ago. Gone are many of the old guard power bosses who tightly maintained the status quo. These politicians could have stayed in office almost indefinitely and they held powerful committee chairmanships where they would bottle up reform-minded legislation. They have been replaced by a group of energetic professionals, many of whom wish to enact pro-growth policies (i.e. cutting taxes) to change Oklahoma for the better. And, should some succumb to the temptation to become part of the status quo, they will inevitably be replaced because of term limits. Read more…

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Sunday Extra: Commentary on Oklahoma’s Bonny & Clyde

January 20, 2008

Only an absolute moron would take a picture like this, while at
the same time, allegedly engaging in bribery and other illicit
schemes

An event that was as inevitable as the sun rising in the east occurred last Friday. Jeff McMahan and his wife Lori were FINALLY indicted on conspiracy and
bribery charges.

McMahan, who claimed he didn’t know shyster Steve Phipps – accepted gifts, in addition to, hunting and gambling trips from him. It makes you wonder? Are these people just that stupid, cocky, or both? How could you not think that people weren’t going to notice your alleged illegal dealings?

Here’s one example of their stupidity and greed. Lori McMahan allegedly received a pair of $500 earring as a gift from Stipe. Now, instead of getting rid of the earrings – that you can never wear in public again – she stashes them at her sister’s house! If she wasn’t so greedy, that one less count could have knocked a few years off that long prison term she’s facing.

Where has Drew been?

August 27, 2007

Message from Chairman Jones

This week, convicted felon and former Senator Gene Stipe will appear before a federal judge in Muskogee facing the possibility of having his payroll revoked and going to prison. After many decades of alleged wrong doing, Stipe was convicted and removed from office in 2003, was given a suspended sentence, and has been on probation since that conviction.

We are now reading daily reports about another ongoing scandal involving Stipe, Stipe’s partner, former Democrat lawmakers, and several current high ranking elected Oklahoma Democrats including Attorney General Drew Edmondson, State Auditor Jeff McMahan and even Governor Brad Henry. The FBI met with our very own State Auditor for the third time last Thursday.

You have to wonder how a scandal this widespread could go on right under the noses of those officials who Oklahoma voters elected to keep it from happening. And second, why our state officials aren’t investigating the matter.

It’s actually pretty simple. The officials that could look into this mess are too closely tied to those responsible, and therefore they can’t see the forest because of the trees.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson and State Auditor Jeff McMahan (along with others) have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions from Stipe and his associates. Yet they will not remove themselves from the investigation. When the governor was asked to name an independent agent to do the investigation, Edmondson responded that the request was political.

Absolutely, Mr. Edmondson…this is political. It involves large illegal political contributions to your campaign and that of the state auditor. It is political Mr. Edmondson, because the campaign consultant for both you and the auditor has been named as a recipient of state funds, which were illegally funneled through the Rural Development Foundation. It is political Mr. Edmondson, and that is exactly why you should remove yourself and demand the state auditor be removed as well

Surprises in Stipe v. Phipps

August 10, 2007

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

Immunity for straw donors who made illegal campaign contributions in 2004?

That’s one of things Steve Phipps testified to during a hearing at the Pittsburg County Courthouse on Thursday.

Phipps was called as a witness in connection with a motion filed by his wife, Brenda Phipps, to dissolve Phipps Enterprises Inc.

The company was owned by former District 7 state Sen. Gene Stipe and by Steve and Brenda Phipps, until last March, according to testimony from Brenda Phipps.

She said her husband, Steve Phipps, signed his interest over to her in March as part of “estate planning” as he prepared to plead guilty to a charge in federal court.

Federal agents have served search warrants on property owned by Stipe and Steve Phipps as part of an investigation into corruption and related criminal activity in Eastern Oklahoma.

Read more…

Stipe Wants Contact With "Best Friend"

August 8, 2007

After the trials, maybe they can be cellmates or have adjoining cells!

By James Beaty

Lawyers for former District 7 state Sen. Gene Stipe, of McAlester, say he should be allowed to continue to associate with Steve Covington — a man referred to as the convicted felon’s “best friend.”

They also want claims that Stipe violated his probation by associating with Covington tossed out of court.

Stipe’s attorneys filed papers with the requests at the Eastern District of Oklahoma U.S. Courthouse in Muskogee, where Stipe faces an Aug. 28 court date.

Covington not only worked as Stipe’s personal pilot for 20 years, but he also managed some of Stipe’s properties and served as a caregiver for Stipe and for Stipe’s first wife, Agnes, according to Stipe’s lawyers. Read more…

Anatomy of a Scandal

July 29, 2007

By Gary Jones
OKGOP Chairman

1) Larry Witt and Steve Phipps conspired to funnel corporate contributions into the 2002 State Auditor campaign of Jeff McMahan. FBI affidavits and witnesses have testified that such money was paid to them for the purpose making said contributions. Estimated totals range from $75,000-$100,000. These funds made up a large portion of McMahan’s total contributions and had a significant impact on the election results.

2) Steve Phipps met on numerous occasions in the office of the State Auditor with legislators including Mike Mass to discuss and arrange for state funds to be funneled into a scam non-profit foundation, Rural Development Foundation, located in an abstract company owned by Phipps and Gene Stripe in Antlers, Oklahoma. Both Mass and Phipps have pleaded guilty to federal charges and are now waiting sentencing to connection to the scheme.

3) After denying for months McMahan admitted to going on fishing and gambling trips paid for by Phipps. Such trips would constitute something of value received by an individual regulated by McMahan and his office and may be grounds for removal from office.

4) Duane Smith from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board has reported that he was called into a meeting with the State Auditor Jeff McMahan, Mike Mass and Steve Phipps. During the meeting Smith said he was advised that Mass had put wording in the agency appropriation bill to funnel funds to a trust authority setup by Phipps to aid in selling water from Lake Eufaula. McMahan advised Smith to help get that done and he would make the audit look clean. In 2006 McMahan asked the governor to perform an audit on OFRW. The audit failed to reveal the connection between McMahan and Phipps the principle person being audited and also failed to disclose items which should have been reported and in effect provided the cover-up McMahan had promised.

5) Larry Witt (Ry-son Oil) is seeking to purchase shares in several abstract companies owned by Steve Phipps. The sale of Phipps’ shares can not take place without approval of Jeff McMahan, State Auditor.

6) Witt was named in the university housing bond scandal involving Senate president Pro-Temp Mike Morgan. Morgan is also said to responsible for funneling state funds to but Stipe and Phipps’ train that is sitting and rusting in Guthrie.

Jeff McMahan and his office should be removed from the approval process as there exist a clear conflict of interest by McMahan in this matter.

A cause of action should be filed against Phipps, Stipe and Witt to recover state funds illegally obtained. The corporate assets of Phipps Enterprises and Corporate Finance Group should be frozen until such action has been litigated.

Related:

ObserverBlog: “The Education of Jeff McMahan”

Follow The Money: Stipe, Phipps Business Details Raise Questions

July 27, 2007

From the McAlester News-Capital:

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

A court-appointed receiver in the lawsuit between former District 7 state Sen. Gene Stipe and his estranged business partner, Steve Phipps, has demanded that National Pet Products pay $310,000 in delinquent accounts to Phipps Enterprises, Inc.

“The deadline for a response has passed and lawsuits are being prepared to recover such substantial funds,” receiver Kraettli Q. Epperson said in documents filed at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

National Pet Products is the dog food plant on the north side of McAlester built on property sold by Stipe, according to court documents and other records.

In his report, Epperson said Phipps Enterprises Inc. also owes a substantial amount of taxes.

Phipps Enterprises, Inc., is identified in court documents as the company owned by Stipe, of McAlester, and Phipps, who is from the Kiowa area. Read more…

OKGOP Chairman: "Special Prosecutor Needed to Probe Campaign Contributions"

June 25, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gary Jones
June 25, 2007 405-528-3501

This Wednesday Steve Phipps is scheduled to plead guilty as part of a plea agreement with the United States Government in connection with an FBI investigation of political corruption in Southeast Oklahoma. His estranged business partner, former Democratic State Senator Gene Stipe, will be back in court Thursday for a probation revocation hearing. Stipe, who is in the midst of a 5 year-probation sentence for illegal campaign activities, appears to be facing the judge in connection to similar charges of illegally funneling contributions to Congressman Dan Boren’s 2004 congressional campaign.

The federal investigation into the corrupt political shenanigans of Gene Stipe has sparked a grassfire of additional illegal activities and has grown to include a number of high level Democrats. While the federal government is doing its job, the same can not be said of the State of Oklahoma. While federal prosecutors are handing out indictments for federal crimes, justice will not be served without a state investigation and charges sought at that level. The feds have filed charges in connection with donations to Boren, but what about more than a hundred thousand dollars in contributions to State Auditor Jeff McMahan, Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Governor Brad Henry? To add insult to injury it appears that it was our own state tax dollars illegally funneled into these campaigns.

The Oklahoma officials normally responsible for investigating and prosecuting state related crimes have been implicated and may very well be involved themselves. It is imperative that Governor Brad Henry name a special prosecutor to pursue charges in this corruption ring. Attorney General Drew Edmondson has made comments that state charges may be pursued. However, he himself has been caught up in the straw donor scam along with the state auditor, not to mention the Democrat Leader of the Oklahoma Senate, Mike Morgan.

It’s time for an independent state investigation. It’s time for Governor Henry to show leadership and name a special prosecutor. We need someone to investigate these crimes and stop those who are abusing our state and our citizens. Sadly, political corruption has been a part of our past hundred years. It need not be tolerated in our future.

Related

BUBBAWORLD dot NET:Big Week for Gene Stipe”

Judge Says No to Watercooler Restraining Order

June 15, 2007

In another victory for bloggers and the new media, a McIntosh County judge has denied a request by Steve Covington for a restraining order and a temporary injunction sought against the McAlester Watercooler. Congratulations guys! Read more…

OK GOP E-News: Week of 6-4-07

June 4, 2007

Well one thing we can say about new/old OKGOP Chairman Gary Jones, the weekly email has gotten a hell of a lot better. We actually look forward to receiving it now. Before, it was about as entertaining as watchng paint dry! The commentary is more insightful and this week, Jones even adds a little humor.

Gene “Bosshog” Stipe Legacy Keeps Growing

The federal investigation into Gene Stipe and his alleged corruption in SE Oklahoma just keeps growing, with Senate Co-President Pro-Tem Mike Morgan now coming under fire.

A Sunday story by the Oklahoman shows some Oklahoma colleges used non-traditional private financing to build housing projects, and students at several Oklahoma colleges are paying higher housing costs because of it.

Morgan, who’s a Stillwater attorney, was paid more than $230,000 as the acting attorney on some of the projects…all in his Senate district. Reporters Tony Thornton and Randy Ellis also report that huge sums were paid to a title company co-owned by—you guessed it—former State Senator Gene Stipe.

The shady funding method, called off-balance-sheet or no-recourse financing, results in higher interest rates and higher fees paid to underwriters, banks and various attorneys, because the schools bypass competitive-bidding to streamline construction projects. The Oklahoman confirmed that the schools’ financing method is drawing FBI scrutiny.

We’ve made the point here before that the arrogance of power, the corruption that follows and the unquenchable thirst to spend taxpayer dollars has been the trademark of Oklahoma Democrats during their time in the majority, and it’s the mark Stipe has left on the Democratic Party.

With Mike Morgan term-limited, it is uncertain if he will simply slip off into the shadows or if these charges will be pursued further. What is more clear however, is that this cloud of corruption may damage Morgan’s popularity in his own Senate district and could hurt the Democratic nominee who will look to replace Morgan next November.