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Attorney General calls for audit of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority

Attorney General Getner Drummond has requested an audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Photo provided

Oklahoma Attorney General Getner Drummond has requested an investigative audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

Drummond has asked state Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd conduct an investigative audit of the agency.

“I have had many conversations over the past few months with legislators, community leaders, private citizens and state employees who have expressed a wide array of concerns with the financial conduct of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (“OTA”),” Drummond wrote in the March 15 letter to Byrd. “These concerns include but are not limited to improper transfers between the OTA and the Department of Transportation; improper contracting and purchasing practices; and inadequate internal financial controls.”

In December, a Cleveland County district judge held that the OTA had violated the state’s Open Meetings Act based on vague language in its January and February meeting agendas.

Drummond said that violation is particularly troubling.

“Such a blatant disregard for openness and transparency suggests to me a willingness to engage in any manner of unlawful conduct,” Drummond wrote.

The audit request comes amid Sunshine Week, which this year runs March 12-18. The annual, nationwide event promotes public access to information and open government.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is planning to expand in the Oklahoma City metro. Plans include extending the Kickapoo Turnpike south and west from I-40 into the Norman area. The John Kilpatrick Turnpike is also slated for expansion on the west side of Will Rogers World Airport, connecting Mustang to Newcastle.

Improvements are also slated for the Turner Turnpike and Tulsa metro.

The Attorney General’s letter to Auditor Byrd can be read here.

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