State agency investigating unauthorized funds transfer

Saturday, September 24th 2005, 11:50 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ The city manager has requested an investigation of the transfer of $800,000 in economic development funds without city council approval, authorities said.

City Manager Susan Monroe said she asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on Thursday to look into the funds transfer. Monroe said she has also discussed the case with Pittsburg County District Attorney Chris Wilson.

McAlester voters approved bonds for economic development purposes, but $800,000 wound up being transferred into a McAlester Public Works Authority account.

``It never went before the council,'' Monroe said.

Mayor Don Lewis is on vacation, but supports efforts to investigate the funds transfer, Monroe said.

The OSBI has asked the city for additional documents, which the city has provided, she said. The documents involve agendas and minutes of meetings as well as payroll records.

OSBI will also look into the buyback of leave time for some of the city's division heads, Monroe said.

Former City Manager Randy Green was fired by the council on Jan. 26 after it was discovered he had received about $579,000 for unused leave since 1999. Some of the city's division heads also received buyback funds, officials said.

A bonding company has been asked to cover some of the money the city spent in buying back Green's unused leave.

The city has asked Western Surety to pay $472,425 to reimburse the city for money it paid to Green. Western Surety provided bonding for Green.

Green has said the leave buybacks were included in his contract and in the city budget and that he did nothing wrong.

Several former city councilors have said they were not aware of the amount of Green's buybacks. A federal grand jury investigation of finances at city hall is under way.