Jan. 25: Babies born addicted to drugs: DHS report shows more newborns testing positive in Oklahoma

News | Published: Sun, Jan 25, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The latest data from the Department of Human Services shows 16.5 percent more newborns tested positive for drugs or alcohol, compared to the previous year.

Jan. 18: 'I did what I had to do'

News Updated: Mon, Jan 19, 2015

Mark Vaughan described his actions for a video shown in December for a ceremony where he was presented the Award of Valor by the Oklahoma County sheriff’s office.

The Oklahoman's Watchdog team is a dedicated group of journalists here to expose corruption in Oklahoma. If you have any information about possible fraud, waste or abuse click on the Whistle Blower link above or call (405) 475-3322 and let us know.

Recent Investigation packages from the coverage team

Jan. 11: Oklahoma prison inmate's death reveals cell mate's past

News | Updated: Sat, Jan 10, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The cell mate of Douglas Monroe Cecil was found strangled to death Dec. 2 at the Davis Correctional Facility in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Cecil is facing a murder trial — and potentially the death penalty — in a 2005 prison brawl that killed one and injured at least eight others.

Jan. 4: Drug overdoses are growing problem in rural Oklahoma

News | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The reasons for high overdose rates in rural, non-urban counties in Oklahoma likely are tied to education, poverty and cultural issues, experts say.

Dec. 28: Pharmacy techs are a part of Oklahoma's prescription drug epidemic

News | Published: Sat, Dec 27, 2014
Pharmacy technicians divert untold quantities of hydrocodone, diazepam and other narcotics onto Oklahoma’s streets each year, though they are just one source used by casual users, addicts and dealers to feed the state’s massive appetite for prescription drugs.

Dec. 21: Norman veterans home caretakers lose jobs in abuse inquiry

News: Local | Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014
Three caretakers at the Norman state veterans center have been fired after being accused of abusing an 85-year-old resident with dementia and attempting to cover up what happened. Termination proceedings are pending against a fourth caretaker.

Dec. 14: Abortion doctor accused again of sexual harassing employees

News | Updated: Tue, Dec 16, 2014
Dr. Nareshkumar G. Patel was arrested last week as a result of an undercover fraud investigation of his abortion clinic. At the same time, he is fighting a federal lawsuit that accuses him of sexually harassing and assaulting a former employee. A similar lawsuit filed a year ago by another former employee was settled.
Dec. 9:Doctor arrested after undercover investigation

Dec. 7: Addicted Oklahoma: Profiting from pain

News | Updated: Mon, Dec 8, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Public officials and experts in the field say allowing non-physician ownership of clinics makes them more difficult to regulate and helps explain why Oklahoma has among the highest prescription drug abuse and overdose death rates in the country.

Nov. 23: Oklahoma state treasurer says $37 million in unclaimed death benefits are owed to Oklahomans

News | Updated: Mon, Nov 24, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller links people to lost property through the state’s unclaimed property fund, and $14 million has already been reported to the fund. He expects to turn up $23 million more from examinations of insurance companies. Some insurance companies would like to retain this money rather than see it placed in the unclaimed property fund, he said.

Nov. 16: Norman Veterans Center cited on standards violations after death of resident

News | Updated: Mon, Nov 17, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The October death of a Korean War veteran following an altercation between two residents in the dementia unit of the Norman Veterans Center has resulted in the center being cited by the state Health Department for multiple violations of health care standards.

Nov. 9: Young bettors face troubling odds in Oklahoma

News | Updated: Tue, Nov 11, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Experts warn that college-age gamblers — those between 18 and 25 — are most at risk of developing a gambling addiction.

Nov. 2: Failed Oklahoma Schools Property/Casualty Cooperative seeks to assess former members

News | Updated: Sun, Nov 2, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The financially failed Oklahoma Schools Property/Casualty Cooperative has sent assessment notices out to its former member schools in an effort to collect more than $700,000 to pay existing and future claims. School attorneys have warned their clients to use caution while they seek to determine whether the assessments are legal.

Oct. 26: Hurdles exist for women attempting to leave abusive relationships

News | Updated: Mon, Oct 27, 2014
A new Oklahoma law that goes into effect Nov. 1 is designed to make domestic violence victims more aware of the dangers they face and the services available to them. Under the new law, police officers will be required to ask domestic abuse victims certain questions to assess their risk of dying at the hands of their abuser.
What is a victim protective order?
YWCA expects to open its new domestic violence shelter in 2015
Batterers join Oklahoma City program to fight domestic violence triggers
High-profile domestic violence cases

Oct. 19: Police: Duncan family's killings motivated by son's greed

News | Published: Sun, Oct 19, 2014

NORMAN — At 12:34 a.m. Oct. 9, a post went up on 19-year-old freshman Alan J. Hruby’s Twitter account appearing to indicate he was in his dorm at the University of Oklahoma.

“Home. @headington hall,” read the post, accompanied by a picture of the state-of-the-art residence hall that opened in 2013.

Seven minutes later, another post went up, this one including a photograph of the university’s nearby football stadium, apparently taken from Hruby’s sixth-floor dorm room. “You could say we have a good view,” the post reads.

Yet just 20 minutes later, police pulled Hruby over in Duncan, about 70 miles away.

Authorities now question whether the Twitter posts that night might have been an attempt by Hruby

Oct. 12: Oklahoma's Office of Juvenile Affairs proposes charter school for incarcerated youth

News | Updated: Sun, Oct 12, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The Oklahoma Youth Academy Charter School would be located at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh and Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou.

Oct. 5: Moore adversity: Tragedies continue to put Oklahoma city in national spotlight

News | Published: Sun, Oct 5, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Deadly tornadoes and a horrifying workplace attack don’t define our community, Moore mayor says.

Sept. 28: Property tax foul ups create funding crises for 3 Canadian County schools

News | Updated: Sun, Sep 28, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Three Canadian County school districts are scrambling to resolve budget turmoil following the discovery that business personal property taxes for several oilfield companies had been improperly allocated to the wrong school districts.

Sept. 21: High-profile losses, criminal investigation hit powerful Oklahoma political consulting firm A.H. Strategies

News | Updated: Mon, Sep 22, 2014
Oklahoma City-based A.H. Strategies is known in political circles as one of the powerhouses in campaign consulting in Oklahoma. Now, the company is on the ropes, dealing both with a criminal investigation and losses this year in three of its most high-profile races.

Sept. 14: REAL ID law may complicate travel for Oklahoma driver's license holders

News | Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
A bill passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2007 without opposition and signed into law by then-Gov. Brad Henry specifically forbids the state from complying with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which was intended to improve states’ driver’s licenses in ways that would make it harder for terrorists to obtain fraudulent IDs

Sept. 7: Hunted by night: Oklahoma City police officer accused of series of sexual assaults

News | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014
For six months, prosecutors allege, Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw prowled the dimly lit nighttime streets of one of the state’s poorest neighborhoods engaging in an escalating level of sexual assaults, often while on duty.

Aug. 30: Oklahoma man's widow wins unusual workers' compensation case appeal

News | Updated: Sun, Aug 31, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Barnsdall Fire Chief Pete O’Dell and his wife testified they never met Thomas Russell “Rusty” Topping. That didn’t stop the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals from recently upholding the award of more than $200,000 in workers’ compensation benefits to Topping’s widow and son, who previously had received a $303,000 federal firefighters’ death benefit. Both awards were linked to paperwork listing the Barnsdall volunteer fire department as his employer.

Aug. 24: Questions remain at epicenter of quake trend

News | Updated: Tue, Aug 26, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Oklahoma is a seismically active state crisscrossed with thousands of natural fault lines. But seismic activity has spiked over the past five years, leading scientists, regulators, industry representatives and the general public to question what is different today and what could be causing the rumblings.

Aug. 17: Oklahoma tax collections rise in July but may decrease in August

News | Updated: Sun, Aug 17, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The release of Oklahoma’s report on July General Revenue Fund receipts was a good news-bad news story for state agencies and Oklahoma taxpayers. The $471 million in July general revenue fund collections was 17.3 percent above the official estimate. “In August, we may see some of that wiped out the other way,” said John Estus, spokesman for the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Aug. 10: Oklahoma County faces budget woes as state offenders migrate to prisons

News | Updated: Sun, Aug 10, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said the rapid removal of state offenders from the county jail has caused a dramatic drop in revenue and raised concerns whether the jail will have the income needed to keep operating come April.

Aug. 3: Town residents say Texas woman took their hope with storm money

News | Updated: Wed, Aug 6, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Tonia Allen told Oklahoma residents left homeless by the May 19, 2013, tornado that she was there to help build homes. Residents said they gave Allen insurance and FEMA payouts and signed contracts, but most homes never materialized. Now Allen is under investigation and appears to be linked to several aliases and a criminal history in multiple states.

July 27: Oklahoma restaurants, consumer activists continue fight over mixed drink tax

News | Updated: Sun, Jul 27, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Most sued restaurants are fighting accusations they overcharged customers for mixed drinks. At stake in the dispute are millions of dollars. Around 100 restaurants have paid settlments.. The Legislature last year changed the law to prevent future lawsuits.

July 20: Religious fundamentalists settle in the Oklahoma Panhandle

News | Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Newcomers in Boise City are prompting fear among some residents while others condemn what they consider a modern-day witch hunt.

July 13: Oklahoma has water, but will it be enough to meet needs?

News | Updated: Sun, Jul 13, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Study finds number of private wells are multiplying in central Oklahoma’s Garber-Wellington aquifer.

July 6: What many donors don't know: Their blood is sold

News | Updated: Sat, Jul 5, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
A lawsuit between Oklahoma Blood Institute and a Minnesota blood broker reveals details of the valuable blood business.

June 29: Obama gets blame, but 2008 bill set procedures for dealing with young illegal immigrants

News | Published: Sun, Jun 29, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Fallin, Cole blame Obama, but they didn’t object when current procedures for dealing with young illegal immigrants passed Congress.

June 17: Judge rules for Oklahoma governor in records dispute

News | Updated: Tue, Jun 17, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Gov. Mary Fallin withheld a number of documents relating a decision on Obamacare. Tuesday, a judge ruled the documents were covered under deliberative process privilege.

June 16: Gay Oklahoma soldier's discharge upgraded to honorable

News | Published: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Thirty-five years after being kicked out of the U.S. Army for being gay, an Oklahoma City woman has won her fight to have her discharge upgraded from other than honorable to honorable.

June 8: Oklahoma school districts find buying insurance can be costly to their financial health

News | Updated: Mon, Jun 9, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
It’s buyer beware when it comes to school districts purchasing insurance through shared risk pools, warns Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak.

June 1: Democratic Party data policy favors incumbents, candidate says

News | Published: Sun, Jun 1, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Democrat Bruce Fisher says when he decided to run for the state House of Representatives, he thought he could count on the Oklahoma Democratic Party to assist all Democratic candidates equally in getting their messages out to voters. Instead, Fisher says he encountered a system that favors incumbents.

May 25: Juvenile agency allows blanket wrap, pepper spray to restrain youth

News | Updated: Mon, May 26, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Restraint devices like the humane blanket wrap, spit sock and pepper spray are used sparingly, agency officials say, but juvenile advocates say they shouldn’t be used at all.

May 18: Oklahoma health leaders criticize doctor groups who oppose prescription drug bill

News | Published: Sun, May 18, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Oklahoma physicians are being “selfish and short-sighted” by opposing legislation that would require doctors to check an online database each time they write a prescription for narcotic painkillers and other controlled dangerous substances, health leaders said Friday.

May 11: A decade of OKCPD shootings

News | Updated: Mon, May 12, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment

Police Sgt. Jeff Pope and his rookie partner arrived at a northwest Oklahoma City physical therapy center in response to a call of a fight in progress.

There, they encountered Patrick Trevino, 23, who had been hearing voices telling him to kill his family. Trevino had mistaken the facility for a hospital, and inside, he got into a fight.

The officers tried to handcuff Trevino. The scuffle spilled into the parking lot. Trevino tried to grab the officers’ guns. Pope shot Trevino once in the back of the head. He died instantly.

The Feb. 1, 2010, shooting is one of 78 incidents in the last decade where Oklahoma City police have opened fire. Twenty-eight of the shootings resulted in a death.

May 5: Seven state employees fired after being named in Oklahoma veterans center resident's will

News | Updated: Mon, May 5, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Bill Mack Marshall rewrote his will to give all his money to nine employees at the state-run veterans nursing home in Norman. Problem is the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs strictly prohibits employees from participating in a financial transaction with any patient.

April 27: Capitol building has sewer smells, electrical issues and falling limestone, but funding for fix remains elusive

News | Published: Sun, Apr 27, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Despite all the problems, taxpayer-supported bond proposals to make permanent repairs to the Oklahoma Capitol have been a tough sell in a conservative Legislature concerned about debt. One of the big remaining questions of this legislative session is whether lawmakers will support a measure to fix their own workplace.

April 20: National Archives release OKC bombing documents

News | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The National Archives released thousands of pages of previously restricted documents from former President Bill Clinton’s administration, including about 30 pages related to the Oklahoma City bombing.

April 13: Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association is focus of ethics query

News | Published: Sun, Apr 13, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Ethics Commission is investigating the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association for alleged violations of lobbying disclosure rules.

April 6: Addicted Oklahoma -- Problem prescribers help fuel deadly epidemic

News | Updated: Sun, Apr 6, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
While much of Oklahoma's enforcement efforts are aimed at drug-seekers, far less effort is dedicated to identifying, investigating and pursuing the problem providers — the doctors who supply the sometimes deadly dosages.
See the entire 'Addicted Oklahoma' series

March 30: Ousted officials from Oklahoma's American Legion sue for damages, reinstatement

News | Updated: Sun, Mar 30, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Lawsuit is latest development in turmoil surrounding Oklahoma’s operation

March 23: OKC attorney denies child sex accusations

News | Updated: Sun, Mar 23, 2014
FBI investigating trips attorney and bail bondsman made to Peru.

March 16: Several veterans centers doctors have disciplinary records

News | Updated: Sun, Mar 16, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
A closer look at the six doctors with checkered pasts who work at Oklahoma’s veterans centers.

March 9: Oklahoma athletics association struggles at politics

News | Published: Sun, Mar 9, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, which regulates high school athletics, has inserted itself into state politics. And that hasn’t worked out too well for the group. OSSAA's free tickets for lawmakers may have violated ethics rules
Two bills in Oklahoma Legislature seek OSSAA oversight

March 2: Oklahoma House leaders want pension overhaul linked to targeted pay increases

News | Updated: Sun, Mar 2, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Members of the state House of Representatives would like a firm commitment from the governor and Senate to fund targeted pay increases this year before signing off on a pension overhaul bill.

Feb. 23: State tax commission powerless to audit tribes, enforce sales tax collections

News | Updated: Sat, Feb 22, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Tribes are required to collect taxes from nonmembers who purchase goods at their retail businesses but state officials admit they are powerless to conduct audits to find out if the correct amount of tax is being collected.

Feb. 16: More than 125 DHS employees disciplined last year

News | Updated: Sun, Feb 16, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Despite new leadership and a series of reforms, the state Department of Human Services still is having some of the same old problems with its employees, records show. More than 125 DHS employees were fired, suspended without pay or demoted last year, the agency's disciplinary records show.
DHS Ongoing Coverage

Feb. 9: Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State speech silent on plans for Oklahoma museums

News | Updated: Sun, Feb 9, 2014 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Gov. Mary Fallin's speech doesn't cover the unfinished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City or the topic of building an Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture in Tulsa.

Feb. 2: Oklahoma parents say son needed help, instead Custer County sheriff's deputies shot him

News | Updated: Sun, Feb 2, 2014
Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, 18, died Dec. 21 in an incident with the Custer County Sheriff's Office. His parents say the shooting wasn't justified and dispute the Sheriff Bruce People's version of events.

Ongoing Investigations - Archived Coverage Pages


What's Inside

The Oklahoman wins 3 First Amendment Awards

Competing against other large-market print publications in Texas and Oklahoma, The Oklahoman won three of 10 categories in a competition hosted by the Fort Worth Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The NewsOK Watchdog Team

Robby Trammell

Assistant Managing Editor

Robby Trammell is news director for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. During his 41-year career, he has received numerous reporting awards and civic honors. With The Oklahoman’s investigative team, he won a first-place spot news reporting award for coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and exposed wrongdoing in the 1990 campaign of an Oklahoma governor. Their scoop — “Governor Secretly Indicted” — was heralded as the biggest political story in the paper’s history. The governor pleaded guilty. Trammell’s investigation of bid-rigging by Seminole County commissioners in the 1970s was a forerunner to a federal inquiry statewide that turned out to be one of the largest cases of public corruption in American history. Trammell has a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. He teaches Media Ethics at the University of Central Oklahoma. He serves as a director on the board of the Oklahoma Press Association. He is an ordained deacon in The Episcopal Church.

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, exposed shysters and resulted in reforms in such areas as day care oversight and workers' compensation court. He is a proud father and longtime fan of University of Oklahoma football. His wedding in 2001 was on the 50-yard line of OU's football field.

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 college presidents being sentenced to prison and a former chancellor being forced to resign. He has written about abuses of Oklahoma's workers' compensation system, corruption in the state's municipal bond industry, bid-rigging by county officials, self-dealing by state housing officials, misconduct involving state legislators and a variety of other topics. Ellis has won more than 80 state, regional and national awards for journalistic excellence. Prior to joining The Oklahoman in 1982, Ellis worked at Arkansas newspapers. He is a 1977 graduate of Kansas State University.

Andrew Knittle

Investigative Reporter

Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real voice within the stories he covers. He joined The Oklahoman's staff in September 2011 after working for the Shawnee News-Star and The Norman Transcript for a combined three years.

Knittle, a Norman resident, is a 2008 graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, where he studied journalism.

Rick Green

Capitol Bureau Chief
Rick Green is the Capitol Bureau Chief of The Oklahoman. A graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., he worked as news editor for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City before joining The Oklahoman.

Jennifer Palmer

Investigative Reporter

Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to joining the The Oklahoman, she reported on breaking news and crime at The Omaha World-Herald and was a member of a team recognized by the American Society of Newspaper Editors for their coverage of the Westroads Mall shooting in 2007. Palmer is a native of Norman and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she was also a columnist for The Oklahoma Daily.