Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs may review detention center contract

BY ANN KELLEY and JOHN ESTUS Published: February 25, 2011
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Bidding questioned

Office of Juvenile Affairs Director Gene Christian has been criticized for what some say were questionable activities during the bidding process. Records and interviews show Christian often met with Coates and Atwood during the legislative session, made trips to Colorado and had dinner at a private club with Rite of Passage representatives the night before all bidders met with the agency's board.

Greg Pierce, chairman of the Ada Youth Academy Authority, said he plans to be at today's board meeting to defend his group's bid.

Pierce remains optimistic that the center will be built in Ada on land purchased for the project in November, days before it was announced they would receive the contract.

�We've been patiently waiting and we're sure we'll be moving forward soon,� Pierce said.

Lawmakers who have stalled the contact signing say they are pleased OJA board members are considering a review.

�We want this process to avoid even the appearance of impropriety,� Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said.

He said juvenile affairs board members are doing the right thing by openly discussing the issues with the contract, and encouraged them to conduct a thorough review.

His comments were reiterated by House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee.

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