The Oklahoma Department of Labor is investigating wage complaints filed by 19 former employees of two financially failed medical billing companies headquartered in Norman.
The Oklahoman's Watchdog team is a dedicated group of journalists here to expose
corruption in Oklahoma. If you have any information about possible fraud, waste
or abuse click on the Whistle Blower link above or call (405) 475-3322 and let us know.
Recent Investigation packages from the coverage team
Steven B. Pancoast Jr., a fired Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department investigator, is charged with perjury, forgery and other crimes. The accusations already have had an impact on pending criminal cases and investigations where he was involved.
The discovery of unanticipated damage during a rehabilitation project on Interstate 44’s Belle Isle bridge in Oklahoma City has forced the state Transportation Department to resort to unexpected lane and ramp closures.
In 2006, Oklahoma woman Tondalo Hall pleaded guilty to permitting the abuse of her two young children. She received two 15-year sentences, to run one after another. The children’s father, Robert Braxton Jr., who admitted to breaking the leg, ribs and toe of his 3-month-old daughter, didn’t go to prison after making a plea agreement.
A medical billing company utilized and partially owned and managed by the Norman Regional Hospital Authority has financially failed amid allegations of billing irregularities — putting some 42 employees temporarily out of a job.
Leaders of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma have operated under such secrecy that even county commissioners who are members of the association have been rebuffed in efforts to find out how much the association’s executive director is paid.
Zane and Leah Hedger filed wrongful death lawsuit against their son’s baby sitter, Traci Kramer. The baby sitter, who denies wrongdoing, filed a bankruptcy petition, automatically staying the federal case.
A DHS supervisor failed to fully investigate the background of a Tahlequah woman before approving her as a foster mother. A little more than three months later, the foster mother murdered a 2-year-old girl placed in her care. DHS workers also twice failed to call the DHS child abuse and neglect hotline after the girl was hurt in the foster home.
Newcastle man alleges police officers violated his rights, arresting him under false pretenses and beating him excessively a month after three drinking companions partially paralyzed off-duty Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery at a bar. The Oklahoma City Council last week agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the federal lawsuit against two current and two former officers.
After years of rumors, planning and public debate, an all-nude strip club is up and running in Valley Brook. The club is a rare entity in present-day Oklahoma, which saw most of its all-nude clubs vanish in the 1980s.
Representatives of contractors who did renovation work on Oklahoma State University’s football stadium agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a lawsuit over plumbing system failures that caused sewage stench to permeate the locker room.
Competing against other large-market print publications in Texas and Oklahoma, The Oklahoman won three of 10 categories in a competition hosted by the Fort Worth Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The NewsOK Watchdog Team
Assistant Managing Editor
Robby Trammell is news director for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. During his 41-year career, he has received numerous reporting awards and civic honors. With The Oklahoman’s investigative team, he won a first-place spot news reporting award for coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and exposed wrongdoing in the 1990 campaign of an Oklahoma governor. Their scoop — “Governor Secretly Indicted” — was heralded as the biggest political story in the paper’s history. The governor pleaded guilty. Trammell’s investigation of bid-rigging by Seminole County commissioners in the 1970s was a forerunner to a federal inquiry statewide that turned out to be one of the largest cases of public corruption in American history. Trammell has a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. He teaches Media Ethics at the University of Central Oklahoma. He serves as a director on the board of the Oklahoma Press Association. He is an ordained deacon in The Episcopal Church.
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials, exposed shysters and resulted in reforms in such areas as day care oversight and workers' compensation court. He is a proud father and longtime fan of University of Oklahoma football. His wedding in 2001 was on the 50-yard line of OU's football field.
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.
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real voice within the stories he covers. He joined The Oklahoman's staff in September 2011 after working for the Shawnee News-Star and The Norman Transcript for a combined three years.
Knittle, a Norman resident, is a 2008 graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, where he studied journalism.
Capitol Bureau Chief
Rick Green is the Capitol Bureau Chief of The Oklahoman. A graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., he worked as news editor for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City before joining The Oklahoman.
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to joining the The Oklahoman, she reported on breaking news and crime at The Omaha World-Herald and was a member of a team recognized by the American Society of Newspaper Editors for their coverage of the Westroads Mall shooting in 2007. Palmer is a native of Norman and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she was also a columnist for The Oklahoma Daily.