Ex-state insurance assistant alleges wrongful termination

Thursday, October 19th 2006, 1:08 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A former executive assistant at the Oklahoma Insurance Department is filing a 175-thousand-dollar claim against the state.

Karen Russell says she was fired for uncovering unethical conduct by Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland.

Russell was fired in November after almost four-years with the department.

She claims Holland hired friends for department positions and let them work on her campaign on taxpayer dollars and that Holland accepted free tickets to a University of Oklahoma football game.

Holland says the claims are false and questions why the allegations are being made just weeks before the November seventh election.

Holland was appointed by Governor Henry to finish the term of Carroll Fisher and is running for insurance commissioner against Republican state Representative Bill Case.

The state has 90 days to act on Russell's claim.