Rogers County Commissioner Refuses To Resign After Indictment
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - Rogers County Commissioner indicted for embezzlement and conspiracy told fellow commissioners Monday he will not voluntarily resign or take a leave of absence.
That's despite a recommendation by the District Attorney's Office to do so.
A grand jury accuses District Two Commissioner Mike Helm of selling scrap metal belonging to the county and keeping the money for himself.
Commissioners say Helm's presence disrupts county business, and they voted Monday to get the Oklahoma Attorney General involved in his removal.
Assistant District Attorney Benjamin M. Lepak wrote a recommendation to commissioners noting that Oklahoma law allows Helm to remain in his office as long he has not been convicted of a crime or until the A.G. successfully removes him.
"As a criminal defendant, Mr. Helm is entitled to due process and a presumption of innocence," Lepak said in the recommendation. "As an elected official, however, he is not entitled to be free from criticism and oversight from this Board and the public.
"To put it plainly, Mr. Helm has been accused of stealing from and defrauding Rogers County and its taxpayers."
The commissioners also voted to limit Helm's role in county government.