Randy Ellis
Watchdog Investigative Reporter

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two college presidents being sentenced to prison and a former chancellor being forced to resign. He has written about abuses of Oklahoma's workers' compensation system, corruption in the state's municipal bond industry, bid-rigging by county officials, self-dealing by state housing officials, misconduct involving state legislators and a variety of other topics. Ellis has won more than 80 state, regional and national awards for journalistic excellence. Prior to joining The Oklahoman in 1982, Ellis worked at Arkansas newspapers. He is a 1977 graduate of Kansas State University.


  • Former Kay County, Oklahoma, jail employee charged in embezzlement

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Mon, May 2, 2016

    Melissa Ann Sprueill, 42, a former employee at the Kay County jail in Newkirk, has been charged with embezzling $363,565 from inmate trust funds. Sprueill, of Morrison, said she took money during the five-year scheme to fund her gambling habit.

  • Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has history of inflated projections

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, May 1, 2016

    The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has built nine turnpikes since 1961. Actual revenues have failed to meet projections for every one of those nine turnpikes during their first five years of operations.

  • Recent child deaths prompt changes for Oklahoma Department of Human Services

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Wed, Apr 27, 2016

    The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth has released two new child death review reports that once again raise questions about the competency of investigations conducted by some state child welfare workers.

  • Tax incentives for Oklahoma wind farms are getting scrutiny

    By Paul Monies and Randy Ellis Staff Writers | Updated: Tue, Apr 26, 2016

    Behind the glowing wind industry studies and doom-and-gloom predictions by wind incentive opponents are real questions about how existing Oklahoma tax incentives for wind energy are working and the long-term effects on Oklahoma's schools and Oklahoma's state budget.

  • Wind incentives impacting Oklahoma's budget

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, Apr 24, 2016

    In state lawmakers’ competitive zeal to persuade investors to build their wind farms in Oklahoma rather than other states, they agreed to an array of incentives that included two that when combined could potentially rise to more than $100 million a year if left unchecked.

  • Tax incentive glossary

    Published: Sat, Apr 23, 2016

    Terms used for tax-incentives in Oklahoma.

  • Pushmataha County sheriff comes under fire after audit

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Wed, Apr 13, 2016

    A state audit of the Pushmataha County sheriff’s office has revealed possible fraud, embezzlement and misuse of inmate trust funds using fictitious accounts set up in the names of drug dogs.

  • Billing error means years of overcharges for some Oklahoma veterans home residents

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com  | Published: Sat, Apr 2, 2016

    The overcharges only will impact a small percentage of Oklahoma's 1,423 veterans home residents, but for some, the overcharges could amount to more than $1,000 a month. That could add up to tens of thousands of dollars for some residents who have spent years in the veterans centers.

  • Oklahoma town's audit reveals possible misappropriation of utility revenues

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com   | Published: Mon, Mar 21, 2016

    A state audit of the utility revenues for the Hughes County town of Dustin has uncovered possible misappropriation of funds, officials said.

  • Yukon faces financial crisis, possible fiscal irregularities

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Mon, Mar 21, 2016

    Yukon, Oklahoma, officials are investigating whether capital improvment bond money was used to pay general expenses.

  • Tulsa, OKC charter schools' attorney contends lease payments were proper

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Mar 18, 2016

    Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who is serving as the attorney for Dove Charter Schools, said Thursday that he doesn’t believe there was anything improper about the way millions of dollars in lease payments for the schools were handled.

  • State audit questions charter schools' site lease payments

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, Mar 17, 2016

    The Sky Foundation, which manages Dove Charter Schools, has collected about $3.182 million more in lease payments for use of the Dove Science Academy-OKC school site than it paid to originally purchase the property, auditors said.

  • Settlement reached for $955K in Hugo water quality case

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, Mar 17, 2016

    The agreement calls for Severn Trent Environmental Services Inc. to pay a $25,000 fine and an additional $930,000 to assist small Oklahoma communities, such as Hugo, with expenses related to upgrades at drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities.

  • New director appointed for Oklahoma City VA Health Care System

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Mar 12, 2016

    Kristopher “Wade” Vlosich, who will assume his new duties in May, is coming to Oklahoma City from Columbia, Mo., where he held the same position at another veterans' hospital.

  • Videoconferencing bill alarms Oklahoma Press Association

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Wed, Mar 9, 2016

    The proposed changes in Oklahoma's videoconferencing law, authored by state Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, could come up for a vote on the Senate floor anytime Wednesday or Thursday.

  • Oklahoma DHS wants to downsize hundreds of workers while paying millions to consultants

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, Mar 6, 2016

    Taxpayer funded payments to Public Catalyst — which average more than $100,000 a month — continue at a time when Oklahoma Department of Human Services has offered voluntary buyouts to more than 400 employees.

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court rules part of Workers' Comp Act unconstitutional

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Tue, Mar 1, 2016

    A section of the Workers' Compensation Act that tried to prohibit injured workers from collecting on cumulative trauma claims in they hadn't worked 180 days for their employer was ruled unconstitutional Monday by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

  • Credit card purchases, gifts questioned by Oklahoma's state audit

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Published: Mon, Feb 29, 2016

    Gifts that ranged from hams to Thunder basketball tickets were given to employees of an Oklahoma county commissioners association by a law firm hired to defend counties against property and liability insurance claims, according to a state audit.

  • Marco Rubio calls Donald Trump a 'con man' during Oklahoma City campaign appearance

    By Randy Ellis Staff Writer rellis@oklahoman.com | Updated: Fri, Feb 26, 2016

    Energized by his showing in Thursday's raucous Republican debate in Houston, Marco Rubio bought his campaign to Oklahoma City and spoke Friday to a crowd of supporters at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center.

  • University of Oklahoma settlement agreement revealed in Nazi-looted art case

    By  Randy Ellis and Silas Allen Staff Writers rellis@oklahoman.com   | Updated: Tue, Feb 23, 2016

    Details of a settlement agreement were released Tuesday regarding a Nazi-looted piece of art on display at the University of Oklahoma.





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