Knowledgeable sources requesting anonymity have told CapitolBeatOK that computers at the headquarters of the Broken Arrow Public Schools were seized this week. Today (Thursday, May 6), state Rep. Mike Reynolds of Oklahoma City issued a press release disclosing the information.
In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Charlie Price, spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson, said in an email, “I can’t confirm or deny AG involvement in the seizure of computers. We do not discuss matters that may or may not be under investigation unless and until charges are filed or an indictment is issued and unsealed.”
The new information is the latest development in an unfolding story that first came to statewide attention earlier this year.
The draft findings of Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage’s office are in the hands of the attorney general’s office.
In his press release today, received by CapitolBeatOK, Rep. Reynolds said, “The latest reports, if accurate, continue to paint a picture of serious trouble at the Broken Arrow School District. I believe the public, especially parents in the Broken Arrow district, have a right to know about these latest alleged developments.”
Last week, Reynolds was informed that a state audit of the school district had been finished and the results turned over to the Office of the Attorney General, an apparent indicator that criminal activity may have been uncovered.
CapitolBeatOK has previously reported that members of the attorney general’s staff deployed late last week. In that story, Sources with knowledge of past accounting and spending practices in the Broken Arrow public schools said documented financial mismanagement in current investigations will reach at least $3.1 million. The words “at least” may be an understatement.
The Broken Arrow school district has been a source of controversy since October 2008 when the school board fired Superintendent Jim Sisney. Sisney has alleged he was fired because he discovered wrongful business practices between the school and a heating and air contractor.
If computers have been seized it is likely the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is now involved in the probe, informed sources have told CapitolBeatOK.
Update: The Tulsa World reported Friday May 7 that the OSBI has involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) quoting OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown saying, "We thought they (the FBI) could do more on a federal level."
NOTE: CapitolBeatOK Editor and Tulsa Today Capital Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.