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Timeline of questionable activities

Timeline of questionable activities at the Oklahoma Education Department.
Oklahoman Modified: October 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm •  Published: October 29, 2012

• January: State audit is released disclosing that former state schools Assistant Superintendent Misty Kimbrough, who was fired seven months earlier, had falsified a number of documents for travel reimbursement over the course of three years.

• March: The state auditor releases a second state Education Department audit. This one allege that Garrett's administration used two undisclosed bank accounts as "slush funds" for drinks, food, entertainment and travel while hosting state education conferences. The audit says officials spent $2.3 million from these “off-book and unauthorized accounts” over a 10-year period, buying things like wine, beer kegs, a chocolate fountain and smoked salmon mousse in puff pastry. Garrett claimed the audit findings were a misunderstanding and that the attorney general had previously approved of the arrangement.

• March: The Oklahoman disclosed that Barresi's administration also had hosted an education conference in 2011 using private donations and payments solicited from vendors.

• April: The Oklahoman disclosed that more than $100,000 that went into what auditors had described as slush funds was solicited by state education officials from 31 companies that had no-bid contracts with the agency totaling tens of millions of dollars.

• October: The state auditor releases third state Education Department audit. This audit discloses Barresi's administration had committed similar transgressions to Garrett's administration by soliciting and depositing more than $200,000 into an unauthorized bank account, this one purportedly belonging to a private nonprofit organization whose board never met.


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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