Oklahoma elections: What background checks say

25 who hope to be elected by Oklahoma voters in November have had money or legal troubles.
BY MICHAEL BAKER, VALLERY BROWN, JOHN ESTUS and PAUL MONIES Modified: October 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm •  Published: October 17, 2010
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• Response: Shortey said he already had debt when he was fired from his job in 2004 after missing several days of work to tend to his wife, who had been having complications during pregnancy. Shortey got another job, but the couple's financial problems snowballed. They filed for bankruptcy so they wouldn't lose their house. They initially filed in 2005, but the case was dismissed for failure to pay the filing fee. Most of the debt listed in their 2007 bankruptcy was related to the mortgage on their $70,000 home in south Oklahoma City. The case was changed to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because they failed to make payments required under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The case has been discharged and is nearly closed.

"This is not something to be taken lightly. The fact is, this is a very big deal.... We got behind early and couldn't get caught up.... I learned you can't spend money you don't have."

• Opponent: Randy Rose, 57, Oklahoma City, D.


State House candidates

Rep. Mike Brown, 53, Tahlequah, D

• Office sought: House District 4

• State tax warrant filed in 1998 for $6,811 in unpaid taxes in Muskogee County.

• Response: When Brown started a sign business, he said Tax Commission officials told him he wouldn't have to pay taxes on labor costs because of the type of materials he would be using. Years later, his business was audited and officials told him he should've been paying labor taxes all along. Brown remembers being told of "a gray area in the law" requiring him to pay the taxes. He was hit with a tax warrant and paid it. He said the situation prompted him to work with his local legislator to get the law changed.

"That's actually what catapulted me into politics."

• Opponent: Dwayne Thompson, 51, Fort Gibson, R.

Eric Cullen, 36, Claremore, D

• Office: House District 9

• Filed personal bankruptcy in March 2001, listing $192,541 in debt and $138,936 in assets. Case closed in July 2001.

• Response: Did not return several calls to his office.

• Opponent: Marty Quinn, 51, Claremore, R.

Paul C. Parrott, 41, Vian, R

• Office sought: House District 15

• Filed personal bankruptcy in April 1995. Case discharged in September 1995.

• Response: Parrott said he was able to pay his debtors and learn from the ordeal. Recently he has taught high school students about financial responsibility.

"I was 25 years old with a recent baby, and I'd lost my job. ... It's a little embarrassing when you're not able to meet your obligations. ... It is a learning experience. Stuff happens. You got to try to deal with it and overcome and move on from there."

• Opponent: Rep. Ed Cannaday, 69, Porum, D.

Allie Burgin, 70, Wynnewood, R

• Office sought: House District 22

• Business bankruptcy filed in September 1991 with more than $500,000 in claims was discharged in May 1992 with all creditors being paid.

• Response: Burgin said in the late 1980s the FDIC took over a bank, with which he had a construction loan.

"It gave me some empathy for those people that are hurting right now and are in financial straits ... If you're a fiscally conservative guy and something like that happens to you, it really brings home to you the fact no matter how big you, how secure you think you are, the circumstances are the government can come in and damage you pretty bad."

• Opponent: Rep. Wes Hilliard, 37, Sulphur, D.

Chris Odneal, 31, Shawnee, D

• Office sought: House District 27

• Two state tax warrants filed in Pottawatomie County in 2002 for $11,389 in unpaid taxes. A $10,519 state tax warrant was released paid in July 2002 and an $870 warrant was released paid in February 2003.

• Response: Odneal, who was 23 at the time, and a business partner had started an Internet cafe business that lasted about three months, he said. Odneal now runs a computer repair and surveillance installation business.

"I don't really think it reflects on my candidacy. It was something we wanted to try to do for the community because that was back before broadband was readily available and it just wasn't a service that folks were that interested in ... I think the business that I'm running now, we employ nine people, we started it four years ago and it is doing quite well. I think that that reflects that we were able to grow a business during a really bad economic downturn."

• Opponent: Josh Cockroft, 21, McLoud, R.

Rep. Cory T. Williams, 32, Stillwater, D

• Office sought: House District 34

• Between 1997 and this year, 10 traffic tickets, including eight for excessive speed. All the fines, more than $1,400, have been paid.

• Response: Williams said he does a lot of driving as an attorney and legislator. While not excusing his driving record, Williams wrote in an e-mail he doesn't believe his driving record is as important as his legislative record.

"I do not believe my driving record affects my ability to represent my constituency. This state is looking at a budget shortfall of almost $1.5 billion dollars next year, we consistently rank low or last in education, access to health care, infrastructure, and overall health of our population. Certainly your readers have the right to know who among us is speeding but there are some real problems that face our state. I show up every day and try to find solutions to those problems."

• Opponent: Ryan Smith, 34, Stillwater, R.

Rodger Ensign, 60, Pawnee, D

• Office sought: House District 35

• A $2,486 state tax warrant for unpaid taxes filed in Lincoln County in March 2009, which was released as paid six months later.

• A personal bankruptcy filed in June 2005 with more than $340,000 in debt was discharged in September 2005.

• A $1,228 state tax warrant for unpaid taxes filed in Payne County in January 2004 and released as paid in May 2005.

• Response: Ensign said bureaucracy is making it tough for business owners and said that more than once he's had excessive regulation shut down his business ventures. He said he tried to deal with all the tax issues before they got too bad, but was stifled by regulators and bureaucrats.

"The government is making it almost impossible to do business. ... We keep saying we're a business-friendly state and we are not and it gets worse every year. There's a big scramble from every state agency now to find as much money any place they can and it's anti-business, big time. We got to get smarter because they're putting us out of business, all of us."

• Opponent: Dennis Casey, 50, Morrison, R

Rep. Wallace Collins, 69, Norman, D

• Office sought: House District 45

• Two Cleveland County juries awarded 1996 election opponents $127,000 for libelous statements made during a successful re-election bid. In 2000, a $45,000 verdict for Collins' Democratic primary opponent was reversed on appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. An $82,000 verdict in favor of his opponent in the 1996 general election was upheld by the same court.

• Response: Collins said he has paid the $82,000 judgment and moved on with his lesson learned. Collins first run for office was in 1996 and he called the campaign issues a "rookie mistake."

"It's affected the way I've been a legislator. It's certainly made me smarter. I feel like it gave me an education that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I wish I hadn't of gotten it that way."

• Opponent: Aaron Stiles, 31, Norman, R

Rep. Randy Terrill, 41, Moore, R

• Office sought: House District 53

• A 2005 personal bankruptcy was discharged in 2006 and reopened in 2008 because the court learned of $11,000 he loaned his campaign but never listed as an asset on the initial filing. Terrill claimed assets of $43,250 and debt of $78,179 in the initial filing. The bankruptcy was closed in August 2010.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has opened a political corruption probe into some of Terrill's actions in the last legislative session.

• Response: Did not respond to several phone calls or an e-mail.

• Opponent: Amy Corley, 44, Newalla, D.

Amy Corley, 44, Newalla, D

• Office sought: House District 53

• Pending foreclosure on Cleveland County home.

• Response: Corley said the foreclosure was the result of Bank of America buying Countrywide, the bank that held her original mortgage. She said she had an agreement with Countrywide that she'd make payments later because of a costly medical emergency in her family. Bank of America did not honor the hardship agreement, Corley said.

"There are a lot of people with similar stories, but my attorney has filed a counterclaim and I'm sure we'll prevail."

• Opponent: Terrill.

Wilson John Adamson, 30, Fairview, D

• Office sought: House District 58

• Breach of contract with Discover Bank for $3,321 filed in Major County in 2002.

• Response: "I was in college, got one card, got two cards. I was learning how to use credit cards. I never paid them and eventually they sued me. What's interesting about that is that was when our state universities still had solicitors on campus. It was irresponsible of me, but I paid it off."

• Opponent: Rep. Jeff Hickman, 36, Fairview, R.

Michael J. Corrales, 50, Lawton, D

• Office sought: House District 64

• Assault and battery complaint filed last month in Comanche County. Kimberly Leonard, 22, was treated at a hospital for injuries to her head and body. According to a police report, Leonard said she was driving to their home when Corrales got angry, grabbed her and slammed her head into the dashboard several times. Leonard has since sought to amend her original statement to the police.

• Protective Order filed Oct. 12 by Kimberly Leonard in Comanche County. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 28.

• Foreclosure on a Comanche County property in 2004.

• Response: Corrales said the incident with Leonard was a misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion because of the political race.

"It's going to be resolved, but not before the election ... I'm kind of at the point where this has impacted my family, my three kids ... I'm deciding whether to pull my name out ... This was a rush to judgment, and I'll be cleared, no question about it."

Corrales said the foreclosure was part of a business investment that went wrong for the builder. He said the contractor filed a lien against the building because of a disagreement.

"I did the land lease to the builder and financed his construction. That's why I was named. Unfortunately, I got caught in the middle."

• Opponent: Rep. Ann Coody, 72, Lawton, R.

Dominique DaMon Block, 30, Oklahoma City, R

• Office sought: House District 88

• Lawsuit filed in Oklahoma County by Discover Bank for $1,911 for defaulting on a credit card agreement.

• Forcible entry and detainer filed in Oklahoma County in March 2009 for $800 in unpaid rent to an apartment.

• Response: Block said most of his financial troubles came about because of his time in graduate school and being in between jobs. "Most American families do have debts. Mine were from going to school and trying to work from the bottom up and live in this economy ... I'm just an average guy; a black man, a blue-collar worker, a husband and a father ... I've got a little debt, but it's manageable, and I'm managing it."

• Opponent: Rep. Al McAffrey, 62, Oklahoma City, D.

Rep. Al McAffrey, 62, Oklahoma City, D

• Office sought: House District 88

• Federal tax lien filed against him in 1993 for $5,465 in unpaid taxes. Lien released in 1995.

• Response: Did not respond to several phone calls or an e-mail.

• Opponent: Block.

Michael Anthony Walker, 54, Oklahoma City, D

• Office sought: House District 95

• Walker was sued in civil court by former campaign manager Teresa Hill for $10,000 in damages arising from an incident in 2008. Hill claimed Walker choked and shook her. A jury last month awarded Hill $1,500 but found no evidence Walker assaulted her.

• State tax warrant filed against him in 2004 for $5,358 in unpaid taxes in Oklahoma County. Released as paid the same year.

• Response: "There was no impropriety whatsoever. The court found that to be the case and that is a chapter that is closed," Walker said. Of the tax warrant, he said: "This was a mistake made by an accountant and we corrected it immediately."

• Opponent: Rep. Charlie Joyner, 70, Midwest City, R



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