Sand Springs Man Sues Ethics Commission, Lawmaker

Friday, March 27th 2009, 5:01 pm
By: News On 6

News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Sand Springs real estate agent is fighting back against accusations he violated an Ethics Commission gag rule.

Oklahoma Representative Rex Duncan says Tom Hardgrave broke the rule when he talked to reporters about a controversial home sale Duncan made to American Environmental Landfill.  That company looked to expand its landfill in Sand Springs.

Duncan had publicly said he would fight the expansion, not only as a nearby homeowner, but as a legislator.  The landfill later purchased Duncan's home for double its value.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission investigated the case, but later dismissed it.

Hardgrave told reporters he'd been contacted by investigators about the sale.  Duncan and the Ethics Commission say that violated a standing gag rule.  Hardgrave says he was exercising free speech and didn't know about the rule.  He just wants his name cleared.

"I'd like to see it cleared.  I'd like to see all of the facts come out, and if he is wrong, I'd like to see something done about it," said Steve Hardgrave.

Hardgrave could be fined as much as $50,000.  He's asking for unspecified money damages in his own lawsuit.