Former Rogers County Commissioner Arrested For Embezzlement
Friday, April 24th 2015, 5:17 pm
By: News On 6
The Oklahoma Attorney General's office has charged a former Rogers County commissioner with two counts of embezzlement.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agents arrested Kirt Thacker on Friday afternoon.
News on 6 was there when agents brought him into the Rogers County jail.
Investigators say Thacker used county-owned equipment, including a bulldozer, track hoe and portable fuel tank to make improvements to his personal property without proper legal authority. Documents also allege he embezzled more than $10,000 by directing a county employee to deliver a bulldozer, track hoe and portable fuel tank to his farm.
An audit revealed potential fraud in April 2014, saying millions of Rogers County tax dollars are unaccounted for.
Thacker said he's innocent and that the sheriff's department is targeting him.
“That's what you get when you sue prominent people," Thacker said when asked about the allegations.
“I'm out plowing ground and they show up, and actually, when they show up, I thought maybe I had cattle on the road," he said. "And they said ‘You're under arrest,' and here we are."
4/2/2014 Related Story: State Audit Finds Numerous Problems With Rogers County Finances
As he was being arrested, Thacker told News On 6 cameras that he simply was a target of the Rogers County Sheriff.
"What this is, is a vendetta from the sheriff and some of the citizens. This is retribution," Thacker said. “It's a personal vendetta by sheriff Scott Walton, against me, for bringing lawsuits against him for violating my constitutional rights.”
Walton petitioned for a grand jury to investigate Thacker and several other Rogers County officials in 2013. Records show in 2014 Thacker sued Walton and several others for defamation in Tulsa and Rogers counties, claiming the sheriff is running a smear campaign against him. Thacker is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
Related Story: Sheriff Asks For Grand Jury To Investigate Rogers County DA, 2 Commissioners
The sheriff isn't speaking on Thacker's claims of revenge or the embezzlement investigation because the attorney general's office and OSBI is handling it.
In a statement, Attorney General Scott Pruitt said:
"The citizens of Rogers County, and every Oklahoma county should have confidence that their elected officials are not using their positions as public servants for personal financial gain."
Thacker said none of the charges are true and he hopes to prove that when he goes to trial.
“I don't believe a crime has been committed," he said.
If Thacker is convicted on both embezzlement charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison. In addition to that, he could also face fines up to $15,000.
4/24/2015 Related Story: Rogers County Commissioners Vote To Restrict Spending By One Of Their Own; OSBI Investigating
The OSBI started investigating Thacker and former Rogers County commissioner Mike Helm in 2012.
At that time, Thacker said he lost confidence in Helms' ability to govern District 2 and that the full commission should assume control of all financial matters for District 2.
In an open meeting, in 2012, Thacker accused Helm of spending money “like a drunken sailor.”