Muskogee County man accused of impersonating an official leads petition drive

Tuesday, October 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRAGGS, Okla. (AP) -- A Muskogee County man authorities say impersonated a town official is leading a citizens' petition drive to get the state Auditor and Inspector to examine the town's books.

George Givens, 54, who lives just outside the Braggs boundaries, says members of the Braggs town board and the Muskogee County Sheriff's Department trumped up the charge against him because he was uncovering fraudulent record-keeping practices by Braggs police chief, T.D. Morgan Sr.

Morgan, town and county officials dispute the allegations and say Givens is angry that his daughter received two traffic tickets.

A Muskogee County sheriff's deputy and a sheriff's office payroll clerk said in court records that Givens identified himself as a member of the Braggs town board while going through records there.

"Why would I do that?" Givens asked Monday. "The records are open to John Q. Public. I never represented myself as anyone other than a concerned citizen of the Braggs community. I feel like this is an attempt to stop me from digging any further."

The audit petition seeks an investigation into whether Morgan has been falsifying time sheets. It also asks auditors to look at evidence and seizure records kept by Morgan, the use of the city's police cruiser and the way wrecker trucks are dispatched.

Since 101 people voted in the last election, only 28 signatures of registered voters are required on the petition for it to be considered by the state auditor's office.

A Muskogee County sheriff's deputy arrested Givens at a Sept. 7 Braggs board meeting.

Mayor Paula Stanfill said she and trustees Bill Stevens and David Collins knew before the meeting there was a warrant for Givens' arrest.

She said the three signed a complaint after being told by a deputy that Givens was at the sheriff's office identifying himself as a member of the Braggs Town Board of Trustees.

An Oct. 30 trial date has been set for Givens, who pleaded innocent and requested the jury trial.

Braggs Town Clerk Crystal White said Morgan is the town's only police officer and has worked for the city for seven years. He is paid $325 a week.

"The salary is based on a 40-hour-work week," Stanfill said.

"I can tell you I know he gives us more than that every week."

Time sheets show that Morgan recorded duplicate hours in April and May for his state corrections and town jobs, the Daily Oklahoman reported for Tuesday's editions. There are 11 dates during that time that have duplicate or overlapping hours.

But town officials say Morgan is on salary and not paid hourly.

They think he is putting in more than his 40 hours, despite what the time sheets indicate.

Muskogee County Sheriff Cliff Sinyard said Morgan is paid $600 a month with money from a federal grant. As a sheriff's deputy, he is required to work 16 hours a week.

"I can tell you he gives us 16 hours a week," Sinyard said.