Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma's secrecy frustrates county commissioners

News | Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Leaders of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma have operated under such secrecy that even county commissioners who are members of the association have been rebuffed in efforts to find out how much the association’s executive director is paid.

Oklahoma veterans agency chief investigator accused of being fake police officer

News Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department investigator Steven B. Pancoast Jr. was fired and is facing prosecution after authorities concluded he is a fraud.

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

Edmond parents' lawsuit over baby son's death hits roadblock

News | Updated: Mon, Mar 9, 2015
Zane and Leah Hedger filed wrongful death lawsuit against their son’s baby sitter, Traci Kramer. The baby sitter, who denies wrongdoing, filed a bankruptcy petition, automatically staying the federal case.

DHS admits mistakes found after foster mom murdered 2 -year-old girl placed in her care

News | Updated: Mon, Mar 16, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
A DHS supervisor failed to fully investigate the background of a Tahlequah woman before approving her as a foster mother. A little more than three months later, the foster mother murdered a 2-year-old girl placed in her care. DHS workers also twice failed to call the DHS child abuse and neglect hotline after the girl was hurt in the foster home.

Oklahoma City to pay $75,000 to settle police brutality lawsuit

News | Published: Sun, Mar 8, 2015
Newcastle man alleges police officers violated his rights, arresting him under false pretenses and beating him excessively a month after three drinking companions partially paralyzed off-duty Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery at a bar. The Oklahoma City Council last week agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the federal lawsuit against two current and two former officers.

Strippers bare all at new Valley Brook club

News | Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
After years of rumors, planning and public debate, an all-nude strip club is up and running in Valley Brook. The club is a rare entity in present-day Oklahoma, which saw most of its all-nude clubs vanish in the 1980s.

Kay County judge splits lawsuit settlement over Oklahoma State University plane crash

News | Published: Mon, Mar 2, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
The divorced parents of Oklahoma State University coach Miranda Serna agreed to accept a $250,000 settlement to drop their lawsuit over her 2011 death. A judge had to decide how much each parent received.

Murder defendant accused of shooting Australian baseball player in Duncan, OK, wants trial moved

News | Updated: Sat, Feb 21, 2015
Chancey Allen Luna complains he cannot get a fair trial in Stephens County due to the “substantial and overwhelming pretrial publicity.” His jury trial is set to begin in April.

DHS failed to investigate call about Oklahoma grandmother who dressed as witch

News | Updated: Mon, Feb 23, 2015
A girl’s mother called the Oklahoma Department of Human Services hotline last June after finding cellphone video of a woman who dressed as a witch to discipline the child. DHS officials say the child welfare specialist acted appropriately in declining to investigate because the caller did not say the child was being abused in the video.

Oklahoma state pension systems show improved financial strength

News | Updated: Mon, Feb 16, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Buoyed by a strong stock market, Oklahoma’s seven state pension systems experienced investment income growth ranging from 5.1 percent to 8.1 percent last year, according to a report scheduled to be presented Wednesday to the Oklahoma State Pension Commission.

Judge prohibits adult entertainment at south Oklahoma City club

News | Updated: Sun, Feb 15, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish ruled Friday against Red Light Nights Gentleman’s Club. Oklahoma City officials had complained it was a public nuisance, operating illegally as a strip club across the street from a small neighborhood. An appeal is planned.

Oklahoma State University stadium lawsuit gets settled

News | Updated: Mon, Feb 9, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
Representatives of contractors who did renovation work on Oklahoma State University’s football stadium agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a lawsuit over plumbing system failures that caused sewage stench to permeate the locker room.

Commissioner from Oklahoma's Pushmataha County charged with three felonies

News | Published: Thu, Feb 5, 2015 | Comment on this article Leave a comment
A Pushmataha County commissioner in Oklahoma was charged with embezzlement and filing false claims Thursday for allegedly using county funds to purchase tires for his personal pickup and authorizing the overpayment of a hunting buddy for bulldozer work.

Rapper 2 Chainz pays $771 to end misdemeanor case over 2013 arrest

News | Published: Sat, Feb 7, 2015
Nationally known rapper 2 Chainz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor — obstructing a police officer in the performance of his official duties.

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. 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.

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 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.