Wes Lane, president of Salt and Light Training Inc. and former Oklahoma County district attorney, once stole from a restaurant owner for whom he worked as a bartender his senior year at the University of Oklahoma.
He confessed his crime to some 400 guests of the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium luncheon Wednesday at the Petroleum Club.
“He (the former boss) chewed me out for something I didn't do, and I was mad and wanted to get even,” said Lane, who spoke about overcoming contention and divisiveness.
“I started pocketing cash for a few months, left and went to law school,” he said, drawing guffaws from the crowd with the mention of law school.
Ten years later, after Lane said his world view changed, he sought out his former boss, owned up to his wrongdoing and presented him with some two-and-a-half times the few hundred he stole. “It was so freeing, like I was a balloon filled with helium,” he said.
Fittingly, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who defeated Lane in a hostile campaign in 2006, introduced Lane. The pair worked together in the DA's office before Lane fired Prater for what Lane later learned were unfounded reasons.
“The acrimonious tone of the campaign was my fault,” Prater said. “I felt wronged, and I wanted to do anything I could do to not only get elected, but also take him down, and hurt the man who hurt me.”
But Prater, four years ago, said he realized he'd forgiven his friend when he learned through the Oklahoma City Police Department that a newly released prisoner made death threats on them and the late DA Bob Macy.