The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office will take over the Swadley investigation as an alternative to the Oklahoma County Attorney’s Office.
The case alleges the misuse of thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars in a deal to place the grill restaurant in state parks.
Attorney General Gentner Drummond said this investigation affects all taxpayers in Oklahoma and therefore needs to be investigated from his workplace.
Drummond said that once OSBI completes the investigation, it will be its job to find out if anyone faces costs after Swadley received $16.7 million from the state to renovate and operate restaurants in state parks.
“First we will see if the seller acted illegally? inappropriate? More than just a breach of contract. We will also look back at the state actors side. Have we properly monitored, managed, managed, entered into a contract correctly and in accordance with the law? We go from A to Z and then see what comes out of it,” explained Drummond.
Drummond predicts that OSBI will complete its investigation by mid-February.
From there, Drummond’s investigators will select the case. He said his workplace would appear to decide within a month whether to charge anyone.
“I promise you thoroughness and aggressiveness,” Drummond said.
The state canceled its contract with Swadley’s last spring, and Jerry Winchester, director of tourism and recreation, resigned.
The new director, Shelley Zumwalt, who has only been in office for a few months, wants to see big changes in the department.
“It’s the right tourism? I’m basically the state director of Fun, but this company has a very rich history,” Zumwalt said.
Zumwalt has over a decade of experience working for the state, most recently as Director of the OESC.
“Having that knowledge didn’t really prepare me for the financial issues I faced, as well as an underlying fear and toxic culture that permeated many areas of the agency,” she said while speaking to lawmakers about two weeks ago.
Zumwalt also stressed that she believes the department’s problems are “fixable.”
“We are taking important steps for the company towards an open and clear environment,” she said.
News On 6 referred an attorney representing Swadleys to comment and heard no more.
In the previous one, this attorney stated, “The notion that there was … any special treatment for Swadley is merely a misrepresentation.”