U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti leaves Oklahoma America Legion in national officials' hands

Oklahoma City federal judge refuses to reinstate ousted state commander, fired state adjutant and other state officials.
by Nolan Clay Modified: June 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: June 3, 2014

A federal judge is leaving national officials of the American Legion in charge of Legion operations in Oklahoma.

The well-known patriotic veterans organization took over the Oklahoma headquarters in March because of financial losses blamed on embezzlement. National officials ousted or fired all the state Legion officials.

Those removed state officials then sued, seeking to get their positions back.

U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti ruled Tuesday against the removed officials, refusing to put them back in control.

The judge ruled it is in the public interest to allow the American Legion to pursue its reorganization plan for Oklahoma.

National officials intend to release their control of Oklahoma operations once new state leaders are chosen in July, a retired Maryland Legion official told the judge at a hearing in Oklahoma City last month.

Tom Davis, the former Maryland Legion adjutant, was hired in March to oversee the reorganization effort in Oklahoma.

Davis testified funds from national headquarters have been used to pay the many overdue bills and unpaid federal taxes.

“We had to stop the bleeding,” Davis said.

The embezzlement losses in Oklahoma are as high as $500,000 to $1 million, national Legion officials said in March.

The removed state officials complained the American Legion went too far, ousting and firing them unfairly and illegally. The removed officials contend they had developed a plan to resolve the financial problems.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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