Stipe Business Will Be Run By A Neutral Party

Wednesday, March 21st 2007, 7:48 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) A business owned in part by a former state senator who is under investigation by a federal grand jury will be run by a neutral receiver.

Former state Senator Gene Stipe and his estranged business partner, Steve Phipps, agreed to the arrangement Tuesday before a court hearing in Pittsburg County. Stipe and Phipps co-own Phipps Enterprises, which is a parent company for several abstract companies.

Stipe sued Phipps in 2005, claiming Phipps had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Phipps Enterprises and diverted it without Stipe's knowledge into businesses in McAlester, including a dog food plant and a gambling machine company.

Phipps' attorneys say that Stipe filed the lawsuit in an attempt to conceal the former senator's involvement in other business dealings with Phipps.

The two men and Phipps Enterprises are under federal investigation amid allegations they made illegal campaign contributions and offered kickbacks to former state legislators who secured state funding for their businesses.