Sunday, July 23, 2017

Senator Griffin Faces Ethics Charges

Senator AJ Griffin Caught
with her Hand in the Cookie Jar
Is it Cheaper to Purchase an Oklahoma Senator or to Hire More Staff?

This woman has always been Republican trash, a RINO from the start, and once again she finds herself in the spotlight after running her mouth about her work for a DHS contractor with a troubled and checkered past. In June of this year Griffin was bragging about her new company's work for Sequoyah Enterprises, Inc, a company that got its start decades ago to take advantage of Sequoyah County Democrat House member J T Stites largess in funneling state dollars to political cronies.
Griffin had planed on using her political office and experience with the nonprofit sector in helping other companies skin dollars from the state budget until the Oklahoman started asking questions, suddenly deciding NOT to do consulting work with companies with state contracts.
Suddenly she knew little of the financial details of her deal with Sequoyah Enterprises and suddenly she was working on a "volunteer" basis...right....that 's the ticket, yeah.. volunteering....
Sequoyah Enterprises rakes in about six million dollars of state tax dollars per year running group homes and they have a history of inadequate staffing, runaways, and violence between staff and children. Initially the company offered Senator Griffin the executive director slot in the company despite the legal prohibition of state lawmakers receiving public money. On June 11th of this year the Ethics Commission had to step in and warn Griffin that her consultant work could be in violation of the law, leading Griffin to provide a contract stating that her clients couldn't pay her with state funds. Hmmmm, anyone want to guess how fresh the ink was on that contract?

Senator Griffin's work could amount to a felony according to a warning letter from the Ethics Commission and using her influence for personal gain or for a company that they have a business relationship is also against the law. The Oklahoman reported that Griffin consulted the Ethics Commission AFTER they started questioning her about her contracting. Griffin is the chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Human Services where she overseas funding to the same state agencies that contract with Sequoyah Enterprises.

Sequoyah Enterprises has had two deaths in their Stillwater facility for disabled adults, three group home contracts were terminated after compliance issues, and DHS has terminated part of its contract for the Grove Oklahoma facility after finding problems with the group home. The company's Wayne group home costs the state nearly $340,000.00 per year yet as of one month ago only one resident was living there. The facility was inspected in April of this year and presented with a list of deficiencies and the local sheriff department shows records of frequent problems including violence between clients, staff and clients, vandalism, and property damage.

One doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to understand why Senator Griffin was offered the job and then the consulting deal. A company with problems has the option of fixing the problems to make their group homes safer for the mentally deficient clients, an expensive and unsure process, or they can put the fix in on complaints by hiring the Senate chairman that oversees their contracts. No doubt it is a lot cheaper to buy an Oklahoma State Senator than hire more staff and lose profits from increased overhead.