Archive for the ‘Mike Mass’ Category

Mike Mass Indicted

April 13, 2007

There is a popular board game called Jenga, that we believe symbolizes perfectly the alleged tangled and complicated financial scheme unraveling before our very eyes involving Gene Stipe, Steve Phipps, and State Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahan.

The object of Jenga, is for each player to take take turns taking a block out of the tower of narrow wooden blocks, and then replacing it at the top. The remaining structure, sometimes seems to defy the laws of nature, but eventually, the whole thing comes crashing down and you lose. The Mike Mass indictment is another block removed from the Rural Development Fund Jenga tower. The Tulsa World has a surprisingly in depth piece on the indictment and scandal.

UPDATE: Former Lawmaker Pleads Guilty

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Former state Representative Mike Mass pleaded guilty Friday to a charge that he earmarked state money to benefit a businessman. Mass, 55, entered the plea in federal court in Muskogee to mail fraud conspiracy.

Mass admitted that he received payments from the unnamed businessman in return for money he sent the businessman’s way.

The businessman has been identified in other court documents as Steve Phipps, who owns a dog food plant and a gambling machine company, both in McAlester.

The maximum penalty for the conspiracy to commit mail fraud charge is 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, however Mass could face more time than that, according to the financial loss calculated by prosecutors.

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Stipe’s Personal Photographer Called By Grand Jury

April 12, 2007

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) The personal photographer of former state Senator Gene Stipe says he’s been called to testify before a federal grand jury.

Allen Cherry of McAlester says the subpoena also tells him to bring every photo he’s taken of Stipe during the past five years. Cherry says he’ll be taking about 150 photos with him to the federal courthouse in Muskogee.

The grand jury initially looked into a McAlester dog food plant built on land owned by Stipe. The investigation now includes allegations of kickbacks to three former lawmakers and possible illegal campaign contributions.

Stipe resigned from the state Senate in 2003 and pleaded guilty to a straw donor scheme involving the 1998 congressional campaign of Walt Roberts.

RELATED:

Political observers are scratching their heads. Why would a man who was given a great deal after being convicted of paying straw donors, turn around and allegedly commit the same crime again? This 1998 interview by the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, regarding President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewsinsky, may give us insight into Stipes‘ thinking.

GENE STIPE, Oklahoma State Senator: There’s always a temptation to jump on somebody on somebody that’s down.

KWAME HOLMAN: Sitting in the office of his successful law practice in McAllister, Oklahoma, Democrat Gene Stipe reflected on the rough and tumble world of politics, of which he’s uniquely qualified to do. Stipe, an Oklahoma state senator, has served 50 years in the legislature, longer than any other state legislator in America. Considered one of the last of the old political deal makers, Stipe is also as much a legend in Oklahoma as Carl Albert, himself. When we asked him about President Clinton’s trouble, Stipe blamed it on the tabloid-minded media.

GENE STIPE: It’s no different than it’s always been, except that the exploitation of the media of problems that used to be ignored because they were private, that no longer exists. No one has any privacy.

KWAME HOLMAN: But Stipe said President Clinton shouldn’t be counted out yet.

GENE STIPE: The first year I was elected I rode the train with Harry Truman-if you thought of the national press, he didn’t have a chance-we were all wasting our time riding around with him because he had no future-but he won the presidency and became one of the greatest presidents in a long time in my opinion. I still think there’s hope for Bill Clinton.

Stipe’s Personal Photographer Called By Grand Jury

April 12, 2007

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) The personal photographer of former state Senator Gene Stipe says he’s been called to testify before a federal grand jury.

Allen Cherry of McAlester says the subpoena also tells him to bring every photo he’s taken of Stipe during the past five years. Cherry says he’ll be taking about 150 photos with him to the federal courthouse in Muskogee.

The grand jury initially looked into a McAlester dog food plant built on land owned by Stipe. The investigation now includes allegations of kickbacks to three former lawmakers and possible illegal campaign contributions.

Stipe resigned from the state Senate in 2003 and pleaded guilty to a straw donor scheme involving the 1998 congressional campaign of Walt Roberts.

RELATED:

Political observers are scratching their heads. Why would a man who was given a great deal after being convicted of paying straw donors, turn around and allegedly commit the same crime again? This 1998 interview by the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, regarding President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewsinsky, may give us insight into Stipes‘ thinking.

GENE STIPE, Oklahoma State Senator: There’s always a temptation to jump on somebody on somebody that’s down.

KWAME HOLMAN: Sitting in the office of his successful law practice in McAllister, Oklahoma, Democrat Gene Stipe reflected on the rough and tumble world of politics, of which he’s uniquely qualified to do. Stipe, an Oklahoma state senator, has served 50 years in the legislature, longer than any other state legislator in America. Considered one of the last of the old political deal makers, Stipe is also as much a legend in Oklahoma as Carl Albert, himself. When we asked him about President Clinton’s trouble, Stipe blamed it on the tabloid-minded media.

GENE STIPE: It’s no different than it’s always been, except that the exploitation of the media of problems that used to be ignored because they were private, that no longer exists. No one has any privacy.

KWAME HOLMAN: But Stipe said President Clinton shouldn’t be counted out yet.

GENE STIPE: The first year I was elected I rode the train with Harry Truman-if you thought of the national press, he didn’t have a chance-we were all wasting our time riding around with him because he had no future-but he won the presidency and became one of the greatest presidents in a long time in my opinion. I still think there’s hope for Bill Clinton.

Ex-lawmaker At Site As Grand Jury Meets

March 15, 2007

By SUSAN HYLTON
World Staff Writer

MUSKOGEE — Former state Rep. Mike Mass of Hartshorne was at the federal courthouse in Muskogee the same day a grand jury was in session Wednesday, but he said he was not there to testify.

Mass, who is embroiled in an FBI investigation involving former longtime state Sen. Gene Stipe, visited the local office of the Oklahoma attorney general two days after he was subpoenaed to testify in a civil trial involving Stipe and Stipe’s former business partner, Steve Phipps.

The investigation concerns an alleged straw donor scheme in which people who contributed to several Democratic campaigns — including that of U.S. Rep Dan Boren — were reimbursed by companies controlled by Stipe and Phipps. Boren has claimed no knowledge of the scheme. Read more…

Criminal Continues Political Corruption

March 12, 2007

From Tulsa Today: (excerpt)

Gary Jones, a Republican who narrowly lost two elections to Democrat State Auditor Jeff McMahan in 2002 and 2006, told Tulsa Today that it was the trail of campaign contributions from Gene Stipe, Steve Phipps and their employees to McMahan’s 2002 campaign that led to the discovery of the scheme to funnel millions in tax dollars to Stipe, Phipps, and former Democrat State Reps. Mass, Erwin and Hefner.

State Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahanAfter losing the 2002 election, Jones said he had suspected a Stipe-McMahan connection since 2003, after reading the list of straw donors to Walt Robert’s 1998 campaign. “What really threw up a red flag was the article in the Oklahoman in 2004 about the now-famous National Pet Products, the dog food factory in McAlester. The article listed Gene Stipe, Stipe’s brother Francis, his partner Steve Phipps, along with Karen Carper and Roy Hattridge. What else did these people have in common? They were all major contributors to Jeff McMahan’s campaign,” Jones told Tulsa Today.

While Jones was serving as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, he said people sent him information claiming meetings were being held in the State Auditor’s basement conference room involving Reps. Mike Mass and Randall Erwin, and Stipe’s partner, Steve Phipps.

“Supposedly, the topic of discussion was how they could all benefit from the expanded gambling laws, and one person told me that Mass was heard bragging that if they got this through, they would never have to work another day in their lives,” Jones said.

“The Internet is an amazing tool,” Jones said. “It allows you to do research and find things in minutes that might take years to do manually – or go undiscovered otherwise. I did a Google search of Steve Phipps, and the first thing that popped up was a press release from the Oklahoma House of Representatives about a newly formed organization called the Rural Development Foundation being awarded a water permit for 25 billion gallons of water from Lake Eufaula – and Steve Phipps was listed as their consultant. Searching further on the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Web site for Rural Development, it revealed that RDF office was located in Antler’s – at the same address as an abstract company owned by Gene Stipe and Steve Phipps.”

Jones shared that information with an Oklahoma state representative, whose further research found that RDF had received a $350,000 line item appropriation in the Department of Commerce’s funding bill. He called back later to say that they received another $350,000 as a line item in the appropriation bill for the Department of Agriculture.

Jones said his continued Internet searches led him to a Web site called
http://www.followthemoney.org/, where he discovered that the board members of RDF had also contributed to McMahan’s campaign. When Jones entered their names into a Google search, it brought up the Oklahoma State auditor’s Web site and listing employees of all the abstract companies in Oklahoma by county. McMahan’s office regulates all Oklahoma abstract companies. Stipe and Phipps’s biggest venture together are numerous jointly owned abstract companies.

This latest search by Tulsa Today shows that several board members of RDF were also employees of abstract companies owned by Stipe and Phipps, and that dozen of other Stipe and Phipps employees were also McMahan contributors. Read more…

Click here to view contributions to McMahan from Stipe, Phipps, and employees.

UPDATE: Mike Mass Found!

March 11, 2007
Courtesy of okdemocrat.com


“This recent picture was taken in SE Oklahoma”

From an earlier story:

By Doug Russell
News Editor
McAlester News Capital

Did he or didn’t he?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation alleges he did, but he can’t be reached to say one way or another. Or even to decline comment.

The locally listed number for District 17 state Rep. Mike Mass is no longer in service and he can’t be reached at the state Capitol either.

In fact, a Capitol staff member said Monday, “We only hear from him when he calls us. The numbers I have for him don’t work anymore.”

No reply was received to an e-mail sent to Mass’ Capitol address, which representatives can access from anywhere there is e-mail capability.

Calls to other numbers, for people listed in state documents as treasurers for two of Mass’ campaigns, were also unproductive.

Mass and two other state lawmakers, former state Reps. Randall Erwin and Jerry Hefner, are accused of profiting from companies that received special project money from the state; money the lawmakers themselves had funneled to the companies. Read more…

Feds Investigating McMahan, Erwin, & Mass?

October 11, 2006

The McCarville Report Online:

Does Federal Probe Of Rural Development Foundation Extend To McMahan, Erwin, Mass?

SIXTH IN A SERIES ~ A federal investigation into the controversial Rural Development Foundation (RDF) in Antlers may now include questions about an alleged meeting that included RDF consultant Steve Phipps, State Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahan, State Rep. Mike Mass and former State Rep. Randall Erwin, it has been learned.

The questions could be important because the man behind the foundation, Kiowa resident Phipps, was a partner with State Senator Gene Stipe in nine abstract companies, and McMahan licenses and regulates abstractors.

In a possible related article:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) State Senator Kenneth Corn is calling for more prison space.

Former Democratic State Chair Involved In Controversy

July 5, 2006

The “culture of corruption” rhetoric Leader Pelosi and the national Democrats have tried to attribute to Republicans in general, has received another blow to its credibility. Not withstanding the recent revelations of bribery involving Congressman Jefferson and the defense influence peddling of Jack Murtha, Democrat State Rep. and former Democratic state chairman Mike Mass of Hartshorne is embroiled in another ethical dilemma.

The Daily Oklahoman is reporting that the representative was a paid consultant for a businessman whose McAlester dog food plant received at least $699,560 in state money earmarked by Mass. Apparently, the only reason the payment (which was not listed) was disclosed was because Mass recently filed for bankruptcy.

Mass’ bankruptcy reflects $89,232.80 in total income for 2003. He listed three sources of income: The state of Oklahoma, Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma and American Project Development. State payroll records show he was paid $14,179 that year as a legislator, leaving $75,053.80 from the other two sources.