OBSI launches investigation into Land Office Commissioners

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has launched a criminal investigation into Land Office commissioners amid allegations that the state agency misappropriated state funds and that its top official allegedly abused his position, the Tulsa World reported. Wednesday.

The newspaper reported in June that CLO secretary Elliot Chambers fired the agency’s internal auditor after questioning him about his personal investment relationship with Victorum Capital, which was paid by CLO as an investment consultant.

CLO oversees $2.7 billion in real estate and other investments to support public education.

The agency then settled with the internal auditor, paying him back pay in the form of a lump sum payment of approximately $25,000 and paying his attorney $15,000.

Chambers announced earlier this month that he was stepping down on August 3.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who is on the five-member board that oversees the agency, has asked Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to investigate and called for the resignation of Chambers.

Hofmeister, a Democrat, is running for governor against Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who chairs the CLO and has hired Chambers.

Stitt’s spokeswoman, Carly Atchison, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

In a July 1 letter to OBSI Director Ricky Adams, Prater said Hofmeister alleged misconduct in the administration of the agency related to mismanagement and misappropriation of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest and misuse of office by a government official.

“I have reviewed the complaint and have concluded that a criminal investigation should be conducted,” Prater wrote.

Capt. Beth Green, spokesperson for OBSI, confirmed that the agency was investigating.

The Frontier, an online news agency, first reported that OBSI was investigating.

Gregory M. Roy