After first winning an election in 2006, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn put his political consultant on the district attorney’s payroll at $500 a month.
At the time of the hiring, the new prosecutor still owed the consultant’s company a $10,000 bonus for the successful campaign, records show.
Mashburn also gave the consultant, Chad David Alexander, a badge.
The questionable arrangement has surfaced because Alexander still had the badge on him when he was arrested May 13 in Oklahoma City on drug complaints, court records show.
Alexander — known as an influential consultant and prominent lobbyist — was charged Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court.
He faces two felony counts of drug possession and a misdemeanor count of obstructing a police officer in the performance of his official duty.
Alexander is accused in the felony counts of illegally possessing cocaine and illegally possessing prescription pain pills.
He is accused in the misdemeanor count of telling police officer Daniel Kleehammer he was an assistant district attorney.
“Alexander purposely identified himself as a district attorney in an attempt to thwart police officers ... (from) further investigating his illegal drug possession,” Oklahoma City police Inspector Tobias Frederick wrote in a court affidavit.
The badge actually identified Alexander as a public information officer, the police inspector wrote.
“Alexander had an ID with this badge that was issued to him by the Cleveland County District Attorney on” Jan. 1, 2007, the police inspector wrote. “Alexander stated that he was a speech writer for the Cleveland County District Attorney.”
Mashburn, who is running for re-election this year, acknowledged he gave Alexander a badge when he hired the consultant as a part-time public information officer in 2007.
“It was clearly marked PIO — public information officer. It didn’t say, ‘law enforcement officer.’ It didn’t say, ‘assistant district attorney,’” he said.
Mashburn also acknowledged he did not take back the badge when Alexander stopped working for him in 2008. “Once I got where I could handle it on my own, we split ways,” the prosecutor said.
Alexander made $10,500 total as the district attorney’s public information officer, state payroll records show. The district attorney insisted Thursday he did not hire Alexander in January 2007 as the public information officer because of the still-owed $10,000 campaign consulting expense.
“It has absolutely no relation whatsoever. The win bonus was for the firm, not for Chad Alexander,” he said.
“Absolutely not,” Mashburn said when asked whether Alexander was a ghost employee.
He said Alexander was involved in issuing news releases, arranging news conferences, redoing the DA website and a mission statement, and coordinating a prescription roundup.
He said he finished paying off the political consulting firm, A.H. Strategies, in 2007 after more campaign contributions came in. His campaign reports do reflect four payments totaling $10,000 were made in 2007 for consulting.
He said his contract with A.H. Strategies was for $30,000 total.
Mashburn told The Oklahoman, “It’s fair questions. ... but it is what it is. I mean I’m not running from it because nothing was done wrong, inappropriate or under the table. It’s all on the up and up. It’s unfortunate that his actions draw attention to it, you know, but it’s not inappropriate.”
Alexander, a former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, did not tell police he was paid for being the district attorney’s public information officer. Instead, he claimed he worked “pro bono,” which means for free, police reported.
Mashburn acknowledged he had the badge picked up from Oklahoma City police when an officer informed him Alexander had it. He said the badge was returned to police when Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said it was needed as evidence.
Mashburn, 42, a Republican, also is district attorney of Garvin and McClain counties.
After his arrest, Alexander, 40, of Choctaw, said in a statement he was going to a rehabilitation center in Texas.
“Over the course of the last several months, due to the pressure of meeting the demands of my clients at the state Legislature, 15 campaigns and my duties as a single father, I became personally overwhelmed and started down a path of dependency on chemical substances in an effort to maintain my workload,” he wrote.
The court affidavit filed with his charge revealed that police stopped Alexander on a traffic violation May 13 after he was observed meeting in his 2014 Mercedes-Benz with a “known drug trafficker.”
Alexander admitted to police that he had purchased that evening “$200 worth of cocaine for his personal use,” the police inspector, Frederick, wrote in the affidavit.
Alexander’s attorney, Tommy Adler, did not return a call for comment Thursday. The number for Alexander’s cellphone no longer works.
AT A GLANCE
State payroll records show Chad D. Alexander was paid $500 a month 13 times after being hired in January 2007 as the Cleveland County district attorney’s public information officer. The lobbyist was not on the DA payroll for most of the time the Legislature was in regular session in 2008. After the legislative session ended, he was paid $1,000 a month four times for being the DA PIO. The last payment was on Sept. 30, 2008.