ABLE Agent Resigns Following Probe

Wednesday, March 28th 2007, 11:13 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Mike Easley has resigned as a special agent for the state agency that enforces liquor laws and has agreed to pay back $4,000 restitution stemming from an embezzlement investigation, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Wednesday.

Easley, an 18-year veteran of the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, known as ABLE, will not be charged in the case if he meets the terms of a ``deferred prosecution agreement'' covering a two-year period.

``We have resolved the Mike Easley matter in a manner that best meets the interests of justice and judicial economy,'' Edmondson said in a statement. ``Mike Easley, as required, resigned his employment with the state and paid more than $4,000 restitution. He is now barred from working for the state or any law enforcement agency in Oklahoma.

As part of the agreement, Easley is to cooperate ``with any investigation of the attorney general's office.''

``This closes our Mike Easley investigation,'' Edmondson said. ``To comment on any other possible ongoing investigation would be improper.''

Easley was fired by ABLE last year on an accusation he used a company vehicle to drive to a second job teaching at Bacone College in Muskogee. He was reinstated last December, however, when an administrative law judge said evidence was lacking to support the accusation.

The attorney general stated in the agreement that he has sufficient evidence to charge Easley with embezzlement arising from the misuse of state property and time and improper reimbursement requests.

``Michael Easley denies wrongdoing, but enters into this agreement as a compromise of disputed claims,'' the agreement said.

Easley was in charge of the ABLE Commission's northern district agents when he was stopped Oct. 19, 2005, on the Muskogee Turnpike after the Oklahoma Highway Patrol received a complaint about a truck using emergency lights. Easley reportedly told troopers that he was late to teach a class at Bacone College.

ABLE executive director Keith Burt also had accused Easley of improperly using a state vehicle and PikePass while on and off duty, and of receiving pay from an outside agency while on duty.

Easley's attorney had argued Easley was working on a law enforcement project whole he was in Muskogee.

Easley is the son of current state Sen. Mary Easley, D-Tulsa, and the brother of former Democratic state Sen. Kevin Easley of Broken Arrow.

Related stories:

2/7/2006 - State Alcohol Commission Investigates Supervisor

3/8/2006 - Disciplinary Hearings To Begin Into ABLE Agent

12/15/2006 - Reinstatement, Back Pay Ordered For ABLE Worker