Copyright 2012, The Oklahoman
The celebration is at the center of an ongoing state grand jury investigation. The party was thrown for Prater on Nov. 20, 2006, about two weeks after Prater defeated the incumbent.
The Oklahoman was able to verify Prater sent out at least three reimbursement checks this month.
Prater this month also filed an amended report about his 2006 campaign with the state Ethics Commission. He for the first time is reporting as in-kind contributions what attorneys paid for the party at Cafe Nova, an upscale Oklahoma City restaurant.
The amended report lists $10,000 total in in-kind contributions for “Victory Party Sponsorship.”
Prater, a Democrat, denies wrongdoing. His critics accuse him of violating campaign laws by failing to disclose donations and other things.
Prater took the actions even though the multicounty grand jury is no longer focusing on him. Grand jurors instead have been looking into whether his critics falsified information in an effort to smear him.
He has said in the past that he did not have to report what attorneys paid for the party as campaign donations because the money did not benefit his campaign. He specifically has denied in the past that the victory party was a fundraiser. He also has said the party was not arranged by his campaign and the attorneys paid the restaurant, not him.
The district attorney said Friday he would explain at the appropriate time his recent actions.
“I respect the grand jury and the work that they're involved in at this time,” Prater said Friday.
“I don't want to do anything that would interfere with their investigation. And, I look forward to making a full statement when they've completed their work and make it public.”
The campaign report
Prater filed the amended campaign report May 5 with the state Ethics Commission.
He listed two attorneys and three attorney corporations as sponsors of the victory party. He reported each paid $2,000 for the party.
The two attorneys are Joe Reynolds and Ron Wallace. The attorney corporations are Kirk Olson PC, Ogle & Welch PC and Scott Adams PC.
Prater this month mailed a $500 check from a campaign fund to Reynolds' estate. Reynolds died of cancer May 8.
Prater made a note on the check that it was a refund of a 2006 campaign donation. The May 9 check was made out to Joe Reynolds.
A copy of the check to Reynolds was provided to The Oklahoman. Prater apparently refunded $500 because Reynolds had donated earlier and the party sponsorship put Reynolds $500 over the legal donation limit.
Prater sent a $2,000 check from his campaign fund to Olson to reimburse the attorney's professional corporation for sponsoring the party. An attorney representing Olson described for The Oklahoman the May 9 check.
Olson did not consider the payment for the party as a campaign donation, the attorney, John Coyle, said.
Prater also sent a $2,000 reimbursement check made out to Ogle & Welch to attorney Josh Welch, sources told The Oklahoman. The law firm, Ogle & Welch, no longer exists so how the check will be handled was unclear.
Adams said Friday he did not know whether he had received a reimbursement check.
Wallace said Sunday he has not received a check from Prater. He said, though, that if one was sent, it could have gone to an old address.
A purported invoice for the party said the total cost was $12,729.
The bill shows beer, wine and liquor were served, along with beer-battered green beans, kettle chips, chicken brochettes, mini prime rib sandwiches and salmon canapes.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation first checked last year into accusations about the party. Agents questioned Prater's donors, party participants and Prater. The OSBI at the time said agents were reviewing allegations of official misconduct.
Grand jurors this year have been taking testimony about the party. Grand jurors met most recently last week. They are set to meet again June 12.
Among the original allegations is that only one attorney, Lewis B. Moon, actually paid for the entire party, and that Prater later gave Moon favorable treatment when Moon was charged with an alcohol-related crime.
Moon denies paying for the party.
Grand jurors have been focusing on whether Reynolds — the attorney who recently died — fabricated evidence last year to make it look like Moon had paid for the entire party. Grand jurors also have been looking into whether anyone else helped to fabricate evidence.
Prater and Reynolds were on opposite sides last year of the murder case involving the pharmacist who fatally shot a wounded robber. Prater has called the accusations about the party “an attempt to discredit me and my office right before the trial.”