As the investigation into financial troubles inside the sheriff's office continue, the contract that kicked off a lawsuit and the investigation sheds new light into what may have sparked District Attorney David Prater’s request for an investigative audit.
In January 2014, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, along with county commissioners, signed a contract with the inmate care company Armor Correctional Health Services.
Inside the contract, Whetsel agreed to pay Armor nearly $3.6 million for one year's services, paid over six months. According to an audit done by the state, that amount was never paid after the sheriff failed to send 11 invoices to the county. Armor is currently suing Oklahoma County for the amount.
Armor has also been at the center of several investigations across the country. Most recently last week in New York, after reports surfaced the company failed to disclose the death of an inmate on formal records.
That total is strikingly similar to a recently disclosed budget hole of $3.5 million the office is facing that a spokesperson said could cost the department as many as 20 jobs.
The contract with Armor reveals more about the ongoing investigation by the district attorney's office into whether Whetsel purposely failed to pay Armor. Prater asked the state auditor to investigate the sheriff's office last week.
Earlier this week, Whetsel said he questions Prater's motives alluding that it may be politically driven "in an election year and a time when crazy political attacks occur."
In a statement, Whetsel said he and his office will cooperate with the investigation and said "nothing wrong has been done and we have absolutely nothing to hide."