OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has launched a criminal investigation into Land Office Administration Commissioners after reports of conflicts of interest and other issues.
The Tulsa World reported in June that commissioners for Land Office Secretary Elliot Chambers fired the agency’s internal auditor after questioning him about his personal investment relationship with Victorum Capital, which was paid by the CLO as an investment consultant.
CLO oversees $2.7 billion in real estate and other investments to support public education.
The agency then settled with the internal auditor, paying him back pay in the form of a lump sum payment of approximately $25,000 and paying his attorney $15,000.
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Chambers announced earlier this month that he was stepping down on August 3, saying he agreed to serve for only two years.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who is on the five-member board overseeing the agency, has asked Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to investigate and called for Chambers’ resignation. .
In a June 29 letter to Prater, she requested that the investigation cover the period from July 2020 to the present.
Hofmeister is running against Governor Kevin Stitt, who chairs the Land Office commissioners and hired chambers.
Stitt’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the investigation or how the agency would handle Chambers’ replacement.
In a July 1 letter to OBSI Director Ricky Adams, Prater said Hofmeister alleged misconduct in the administration of the agency related to mismanagement and misappropriation of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest and misuse of his functions as a public servant.
“I have reviewed the complaint and have concluded that a criminal investigation should be conducted,” Prater wrote.
He wrote that because the investigation could result in criminal charges, it should be kept confidential until it is completed and released according to state law.
Prater said in the letter that he had received probative documents and names of proposed witnesses, which he will disclose to OBSI.
Capt. Beth Green, spokesperson for OBSI, confirmed that the agency has launched an investigation.
“These billions of dollars are entrusted to schoolchildren in Oklahoma, not for anyone’s personal gain,” Hofmeister said. “This matter needs to be fully investigated and I’m glad the District Attorney and OBSI are doing so.”
The Frontier, an online news agency, first reported that OBSI was investigating.