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Oklahoma County DA makes reimbursements over 2006 victory party

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has sent checks to attorneys he says paid for a 2006 victory party. A state grand jury has been looking into accusations surrounding the party.
by Nolan Clay Published: May 21, 2012

Copyright 2012, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has made reimbursements to attorneys he says paid for a 2006 victory party, The Oklahoman has learned.

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.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
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,...
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