Oklahoma County sheriff says he will return donations from accused gambler
Sheriff John Whetsel said he already has written a check to return $2,690 donated to his campaign by Teddy Mitchell, who was indicated last month for hosting illegal poker games at his Oklahoma City home.
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said he will return $2,690 in campaign donations made by Teddy Mitchell, an Oklahoma City resident indicted last month on gambling charges.
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Whetsel, who is seeking re-election in November, said he has not accepted donations from Mitchell since he learned in 2010 that Mitchell may be involved in a high-stakes gambling operation.
“I already have a check written to return that money, I just have to take it to his attorney's office,” Whetsel said Wednesday. “It will probably be tomorrow; we just got the check in this last week and I've been swamped.”
Whetsel said it is his policy to return donations from people who have been indicted or charged with a crime.
Campaign finance records indicate Mitchell contributed to the sheriff's re-election campaign twice in 2009 and again in May 2010.
Mitchell, 58, was accused Sept. 19 in an 81-count indictment of hosting illegal poker games at his Oklahoma City home as well as taking bets on sporting events. Two of his sons, six other men and a Costa Rican company also were named as defendants in the indictment.
Police continue to investigate the beating death of Mitchell's 34-year-old wife, Julie, in November 2010.
Whetsel, a Democrat who is seeking his fifth term in office, said he does not know Mitchell personally. He said Mitchell was brought as a guest to several golf tournament fundraisers by an attorney and that he does not regularly screen donors.
“I've never been to his house, and I don't bet on sports events,” he said. “I never, ever contacted him or placed a bet with a bookie. We had no idea what line of business he was in at all.”
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