Tulsa City Council Drops Investigation Into Mayor, Chief Of Staff

Wednesday, September 22nd 2010, 4:33 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan & Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The Tulsa City Council decided to drop its pursuit of criminal charges against Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and his Chief of Staff Terry Simonson Wednesday.

The decision came after the Oklahoma Attorney General's office declined to appoint a special prosecutor as the council had requested and said it could not get involved otherwise.

Read the letter from the Attorney General's Office to the Tulsa City Council

"We just decided that at this point, we've done what we're were required to do under the charter, and that's all we're comfortable doing right now," said City Council Chair Rick Westcott.  "It's unfortunate that there can be no resolution now."

The city council started investigating Bartlett and Simonson after they were accused of lying about a federal police grant.

Councilors have said that possible lie led to an unnecessary layoff of dozens of Tulsa police officers. The city council hired an independent investigator, but the case stalled when the city prosecutor recused herself.

7/1/2010 Related Story: Council To Hand Over Simonson Report To City Prosecutor

The city council played its last card, appealing to the state attorney general's office, but the AG's office says it legally can't get involved.

A news release from the Tulsa City Council Wednesday stated the Attorney General's office did not "discuss the merits of the report or whether they believed that criminal charges are warranted," only "that Oklahoma law will not allow them to become involved."

"The city council didn't really have any kind of vested interest as to the outcome of the report. We only wanted to do what we were required to do under the charter and we have," Westcott said.

"I knew there really wasn't nothing much there. There never was anything there," Bartlett said. "And I'm just glad its over and we can get on with the city business."

Now that this investigation is behind them, will the city council and the mayor mend their contentious relationship?

"I'm fine. I'm good. I'm Mr. Positive," Bartlett said.

"I never had a grudge with the mayor, you'll have to ask him," Westcott said.

Mayor Bartlett says without this distraction they can move on to more positive things like focusing on economic development.