Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2022-05-16 15:28:02 –
Oklahoma City (Free press) — Under the influence of Swaddley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen Scandal, Governor Kevin Stitt has announced that Lieutenant Matt Pinel will play a more practical role in the state’s tourism business.
But Pinel is already playing an active role. As Minister of Tourism, he personally approved a $ 16.7 million payment from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department to Swaddy’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen Restaurant.
Following a presidential directive signed by Stitt in 2019, the Secretary of the Government will need to approve the expenses of all government agencies in excess of $ 25,000. Pinnell had to confirm each order and every purchase and had the authority to refuse the cost.
Pinel spokesman Maria Carter did not answer Frontier A question about whether Pinnell scrutinized the purchase before approving the expense.
“There is a level of accountability and approval that must be made before these requests hit the vice-governor’s desk,” Carter said. “At that time, the Vice-Governor had complete confidence in the agency manager and his decisions.”
Tourism Director Jerry Winchester He resigned in April after suspicious spending on Swaddry’s deal was revealed.
The document reflects the trust Pinnell had in Winchester. At one point, Pinnell approved a $ 1.5 million payment to Foggy Bottom by email without looking at his invoice. Email retrieved by Frontier Performances. He also approved a $ 2.1 million payment in August to repay Swaddley’s “Fiscal Year 2021 Deficit Compensation.”
At a hearing at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Thursday, lawmakers heard testimony detailing how the Tourism Board went. Lost $ 12.4 million Improper payments for foggy bottom restaurants due to lack of surveillance.
In an interview, Congressman Ryan Martinez, chairman of the Special House Commission investigating the deal, said he was plagued by the apparent “rubber stamp” approval for Swaddley’s expenses.
“Based on what I see from Swaddy’s deal, it doesn’t seem to have much of the verification process,” he said.
Carly Atchison, a spokesman for Stitt, said the governor issued a 2019 presidential directive: “Additional oversight to see what the governor is spending when government agencies spend money.” Said to provide.
But she said she wasn’t aware that Swaddy was overcharging the Tourism Board until she met Jerry Winchester on April 18.
Carter said Pinel is “leading responsibility” by asking the Legislature to amend state legislatures and require the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission to approve all budgets and contracts. 2018 law Removed that power from the board.
“As an elected official throughout the state, Lieutenant Pinel is working tirelessly to make Oklahoma better,” Carter said. “He feels responsible for the taxpayer and is convinced that he is not only responsible for the root of the problem, but also for ensuring that the proper system is in place to prevent this from happening again. I am. “
Published in partnership with The Frontier, a non-profit newsroom that creates fearless journalism that affects Oklahoma.Read more at www.readfrontier.org.. Free Press publishes this report as a collaborative effort to best cover state issues that affect its readers.
Featured Photo — Lieutenant Matt Pinnell will speak at the Oklahoma GOP Convention on April 10, 2021 in Oklahoma City. (Benfelder / Frontier)
Last updated: May 16, 2022 2:28 pm Brett Dickerson-Editor
Okla Lt. Gov. Pinnell approved millions in Foggy Bottom Kitchen expenses Source link Okla Lt. Gov. Pinnell approved millions in Foggy Bottom Kitchen expenses