Ward 2 in Oklahoma City has six council candidates

The wide-open Oklahoma City Ward 2 city council election race has six candidates looking to succeed outgoing Councilman Sam Bowman.
BY MICHAEL BAKER mbaker@opubco.com Published: February 23, 2011
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“I would like to see the council focus more on keeping the jobs here and the money here,” he said. “I think it's important for us to keep the MAPS tax dollar in Oklahoma. If a contractor isn't based here and his employees aren't based here, then that money isn't going to be here or come back.”

Background checks

The Oklahoman ran tax, bankruptcy, criminal and civil background checks on all 13 candidates vying for four city council seats.

After eliminating some with traffic infractions and other minor matters, the checks revealed a few problems worth asking about.

Tichenor pleaded guilty in 1998 to possessing LSD. A marijuana possession charge was dismissed and he received a deferred sentence. Tichenor, who was 19 at the time, said he did not use the drug and was unaware of what his roommates were doing.

“Being on the lease of that apartment, I was partially responsible for whatever went on inside the house,” he said. “It's a regrettable occurrence in my life, but you live life and you move on. I've grown from that and learned from that.”

In 1993, a bank filed a credit action against Stark for $5,685. It was recorded as settled two months after being filed.

“Me and my wife were in a car accident and we owed more on the car than the insurance paid off,” he said. “At 19 I didn't have the money to fight, so I settled with them.”

In May 2004, Swinton testified in front of a state Legislative commission investigating Carroll Fisher, the former state insurance commissioner convicted of bribery in 2009. Swinton said BancFirst was approached by Fisher's representative and asked to buy items for Fisher's office.

Swinton said the bank purchased Fisher an ice machine for $3,648 after he was told the Central Services Department signed off on the purchase.

“I testified because I was the one that coordinated it for the bank,” he said, adding that neither he nor the bank were accused of doing anything wrong. “We would not have given it if they had not given us a letter from central services saying it was OK.”

Swinton also was scrutinized for an e-mail announcing his candidacy that was sent by his wife, Oklahoma County District Judge Barbara Swinton, from her state courts network e-mail.

“There was a screw up with the computer at the very first. She reimbursed the system for it and she talked to the chief justice the instant we discovered it. It's just a regrettable error. She thought she was sending it out on a private deal and it wasn't.”

Campaign finances

Swinton had spent $21,922 as of Feb. 13, the most of any Ward 2 candidate, according to campaign finance reports filed last week. With the largest list of donors contributing more than $200 among the candidates, Swinton had raised $44,570.

His top contributors were the Chesapeake Oklahoma PAC and Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., each of which gave Swinton $5,000.

Shadid had received $74,200 in donations, the most of any candidate. Shadid was his own biggest contributor, writing checks to himself for $65,000.

Four other donors, contributing a total of $1,750, also have the last name Shadid. The campaign had spent $21,432, according to the paperwork.

Donations fall off significantly after the top two money raisers, according to the campaign finance reports. Milner had raised $2,055 and spent $1,249. Powers had raised $750 and spent $256. Stark had raised $750, but had no expenditures. Tichenor had not filed a campaign finance report.


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