Gene Stipe files counterclaim to aide's lawsuit - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Gene Stipe files counterclaim to aide's lawsuit

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ Former state Sen. Gene Stipe has filed a counterclaim against a former employee, alleging she wrote checks and took business records without his consent.

Stipe's lawsuit, filed through his Tulsa attorneys, is a rebuttal to a lawsuit filed in June by Charlene Spears and seeks damages of more than $10,000. In it, Stipe denies many of the allegations Spears made in her lawsuit and also brings new allegations against Spears.

Stipe's counterclaim accuses Spears of writing checks without his knowledge and of ``improperly taking and retaining certain business records'' without his consent or authorization.

Stipe, 78, and Spears, 64, pleaded guilty in an election campaign funding scandal that ended Stipe's Senate career. He had served in the Oklahoma Legislature for more than 50 years.

In her lawsuit, Spears alleged that Stipe last May stopped making monthly payments of $6,300 on a $200,000 employment contract that they entered into last year. She is seeking damages, a temporary order forcing Stipe to resume the monthly payments until the matter is resolved, and payment of a $200,000 annuity.

In his response, Stipe contends Spears' ``claims for enforcement of any alleged annuity, or for recovery of any penalty or fine, are barred by the statute of frauds.''

Spears claims in her lawsuit that she and Stipe agreed to an employment contract in March 2004 calling for him to pay her $6,300 per month from April 2004 through 2006.

She claims she continued handling Stipe's various business interests after both left his former law firm, where she had been employed for more than two decades. She continued to work for Stipe until around Thanksgiving 2004, when a messenger told her that she was not to go to Stipe's new offices.

However, Spears alleges in her lawsuit that one of Stipe's lawyers told her that the payments would continue.

Stipe pleaded guilty in April 2003 to felony conspiracy and perjury charges and to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge in an election campaign scandal. He admitted funneling more than $245,000 into the failed 1998 congressional campaign of Walt Roberts, then trying to cover it up.

In addition, he was fined more than $735,000 and ordered to perform 1,000 of community service work. He later agreed to pay a civil fine of $267,000 to the Federal Election Commission.

Spears pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts _ one felony and one misdemeanor _ and was sentenced to six months of home detention, three years of probation and 200 hours of community service. She was fined $50,000 by the Federal Election Commission.
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