Oklahomans in the American Legion overwhelmingly approved a new state constitution Saturday — their first step toward regaining control of their own operations.
“Give ... yourself a hand here. You’re moving forward,” Interim Adjutant Tom Davis said after the vote of Legion post commanders at a convention in Oklahoma City.
National officials of the well-known veterans organization voted in March to take over the Oklahoma operations because of embezzlement. The national officials ousted or fired all the state Legion officials.
National officials estimated in March that as much as $500,000 to $1 million may have been stolen by former Legion employees in the Oklahoma City headquarters.
The national officials in March brought Davis out of retirement in Maryland to run the Oklahoma operations. He plans to continue running the Oklahoma office for a while longer.
Davis told The Oklahoman the new constitution puts in place checks and balances over the state operations to prevent future problems.
Some of the 17,600 Oklahoma Legion members have expressed misgivings about the new constitution, saying Oklahomans weren’t involved in its creation.
One member was forced to leave the room when he loudly complained after the first vote was cast.
The post commanders had little choice but to approve the constitution. National officials had made clear oversight of Oklahoma’s posts would be spread to other states if the constitution was voted down.
Only three of the more than 70 post leaders at the convention voted against the constitution.
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They’ll be on a probationary period to make sure everything’s running smoothly and no issues.”
American Legion National Commander Dan Dellinger,