CORDELL — Criminal investigators are looking into the financial doings of Cordell Mayor Alex Damon, The Oklahoman learned Monday.
District Attorney Dennis Smith, who oversees Washita County, said he asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation last week to look into accusations that Damon pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds during his tenure as mayor and manager of the utilities board in Cordell.
A state audit released in January accused Damon of collecting more than $260,000 in salary above and beyond what was authorized by city ordinance, of collecting double and sometimes triple reimbursement for travel and fuel expenses, and of collecting travel reimbursements while touring with his musical ensemble, the Damon Jackson Band.
Damon told The Oklahoman that he was surprised by the accusations and he would continue working both positions free of compensation.
“I believe all of the situation will be answered; that would be an optimistic approach,” Damon said Monday.
Damon was first elected mayor of Cordell in 2004 and lost a bid to replace Ryan McMullen as Oklahoma House District 55 representative in 2009.
Cordell is about 100 miles west of Oklahoma City.
The audit, which was requested by the Cordell City Council, revealed Damon collected as much as $30,500 between 2007 and 2012 by working as acting city manager in addition to collecting his mayoral salary.
He also received as much as $230,000 in his capacity as general manager of the city's utilities trust during the same time.
State law prohibits an elected official from collecting a salary from a government position beyond the scope of his elected duties.
Smith said he hoped the investigation could be completed within the next 30 to 60 days.