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Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System audit reveals purchase card abuse

Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System employees used agency purchase cards for prohibited or questionable transactions, according to a new audit released Wednesday.
by Randy Ellis Modified: October 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm •  Published: October 30, 2013
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Doerflinger called new questions raised about Ezzell's leadership both “unfortunate” and “problematic.”

“I and my fellow board members will be addressing this very soon in the form of identifying the most appropriate person to lead this organization both in the interim and ultimately in the long term,” he said.

Ezzell did not return a call to his office Wednesday afternoon.

Employees failed to obtain preapproval before using purchase cards to buy 25 Kindle Fire tablets that were given away as door prizes for clients attending retirement seminars presented by the agency, auditors said.

Employees also made prohibited purchases that included 35 catered meals from Running Wild Catering at a cost of $348.25 for an employee meeting, and the purchase of Quiznos Sandwich Restaurants gift cards that were used as retirement seminar door prizes, auditors said.

Auditors also questioned whether employees engaged in split purchasing to get around competitive bidding requirements and to exceed $5,000 single-purchase limits on their cards while buying legislative tracking services from eCapitol LLC and FSM Group.

In their official response, Teachers Retirement System officials denied engaging in split purchasing but said they would bid legislative tracking services in the future. They also defended their use of cards to purchase the catered meal, saying it was for an employee recognition meeting.

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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