OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma County grand jury indicted a high Republican House chief on a number of felony counts, alleging he misused his energy to vary state regulation so his spouse may turn out to be a tag agent.
House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, the second-highest rating member within the House, was charged within the indictment on Friday with 5 felonies and three misdemeanors, The Oklahoman reported.
“He denies any wrongdoing,” his lawyer, Mack Martin, advised the newspaper.
His spouse, Teresa O’Donnell, who was additionally indicted, faces three felonies and one misdemeanor. Court data do not point out the title of her lawyer.
The most extreme offense towards the couple is conspiracy towards the state, which has a most punishment of 10 years in jail and a $25,000 effective.
The Catoosa Republican launched a invoice in 2019 that allowed spouses of legislators to function tag brokers. The Oklahoma Tax Commission appointed his spouse to take over the Catoosa Tag Agency on Aug. 1, 2019, three months after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the invoice into regulation.
Terry O’Donnell advised The Oklahoman final 12 months his spouse had no intention of changing into a tag agent when he sponsored the invoice. He mentioned she sought the appointment after her mom died unexpectedly from pancreatic most cancers.
Her mom, Georgia McAfee, had been in cost of the Catoosa Tag Agency for greater than 40 years. Teresa O’Donnell had labored there for greater than 4 years earlier than her appointment.
Grand jurors alleged the 2 submitted a fraudulent software to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Commissioners had been advised she managed the every day operation of the workplace and supervised 4 clerks when she truly was solely a part-time employee with no supervisory authority, grand jurors alleged.
Commissioners additionally had been advised they may verify along with her current supervisor about her job expertise. At the time, McAfee was in hospice care, semi-conscious solely once in a while and unable to reply any questions, in accordance with the indictment.
In an announcement Friday night time, the legislator mentioned “political operatives in Oklahoma City are using this to discredit our family’s character and destroy our reputation as a personal vendetta against me.”
“We will vigorously defend our integrity,” he mentioned.
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