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The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has launched a criminal probe into the Commissioners of the Land Office amid allegations that the state agency misspent public funds and that its top official abused his position, the Tulsa World reported Wednesday.
The newspaper reported in June that the CLO’S secretary, Elliot Chambers, fired the agency’s internal auditor after she questioned him about his personal investment relationship with Victorum Capital, which was being paid by the CLO as a consultant on investments.
The CLO oversees $2.7 billion in real estate and other investments to support public education.
The agency later settled with the internal auditor, giving her back pay in a lump sum payment of about $25,000 and paying her attorney $15,000.
Chambers announced earlier this month that he was resigning Aug. 3.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who is on the five-member board that oversees the agency, asked Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to investigate and called for Chambers’ resignation.
Hofmeister, a Democrat, is running for governor against Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who chairs the CLO and hired Chambers.
Stitt spokeswoman Carly Atchison declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
In a July 1 letter to OSBI Director Ricky Adams, Prater said Hofmeister alleged misconduct within the administration of the agency related to the mismanagement and misappropriation of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest and the improper use of office by a state official.
“I have reviewed the complaint and have concluded that a criminal investigation should be conducted,” Prater wrote.
Capt. Beth Green, a spokeswoman for the OSBI, confirmed that the agency is investigating.
The Frontier, an online news organization, first reported that the OSBI was investigating.