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Nepotism Questions: TCSO Undersheriff Working With Relative

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Assistant District Attorney John David Luton said he does not believe laws are being violated. Assistant District Attorney John David Luton said he does not believe laws are being violated.
State law says it is illegal "for any executive...to appoint...any person related to him" by blood or marriage. State law says it is illegal "for any executive...to appoint...any person related to him" by blood or marriage.
The relationship in question is between Rick Weigel and his nephew by marriage, Deputy James Morris. The relationship in question is between Rick Weigel and his nephew by marriage, Deputy James Morris.
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma -

The man acting as Tulsa County sheriff, until a new sheriff is elected, has a relative working as a deputy, and it’s raising questions about whether Undersheriff Rick Weigel is violating state nepotism laws.

News On 6 worked with our partner The Frontier to investigate.

The relationship in question is between Weigel and his nephew by marriage, Deputy James Morris.

The undersheriff has consulted the district attorney's office about their relationship, but an assistant district attorney said it isn't an issue because of what some may consider a technicality.

Just last week, Weigel said, “A change agent is what I am," vowing more transparency from the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

But, when News On 6 and The Frontier asked for Weigel's comment on his relationship Morris, he declined.

Visit The Frontier's Website To Learn More About This Story

State law says it is illegal "for any executive...to appoint...any person related to him" by blood or marriage. It also states a public official can't authorize payment of salary to a relative.

Assistant District Attorney John David Luton said it’s not a problem for Weigel because, although he is acting sheriff, he has not been elected or appointed.

Luton: "What you could call him is, is the person [who] now has assumed the duties and responsibilities of the sheriff. But he is not, he would not, be considered the sheriff."
Allison: "Can you see how some people might view that as somewhat of a technicality?"
Luton: "Sure I do."

Luton said Weigel isn't violating nepotism laws because he didn't hire Morris - Morris came on with the department in 2005, three years before Weigel.

But, a state attorney general's opinion prevents relatives "from ever being considered for raises, lateral transfers, or promotions."

While Luton doesn't believe state nepotism laws are being broken, county policy specifically prohibits sheriff's office employees from supervising relatives.

“I haven't seen their internal policy in a while, so I'd have to look at that and read that again, but they are not violating, in my opinion, the state nepotism statutes," Luton said.

The sheriff's office did admit to The Frontier that former Major Tom Huckeby violated county policy by allowing his son, Michael Huckeby, to work under his supervision.

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