OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office will work with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to investigate any possible wrongdoing involving the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation and Swadley’s Bar- BQ, according to Attorney General Gentner Drummond.
“This case involves allegations of fraud involving millions of dollars in taxpayer money,” Drummond said. “Starting immediately, my office will join with the OSBI to thoroughly investigate this matter. The Office of the Attorney General is the proper body to determine whether prosecution is appropriate and, if they do, prosecute any offenders. One of the priorities in this office is to end the culture of corruption and bribery. Oklahomans are accountable to the government.”
The decision to have the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office work with the OSBI was made after discussions between Drummond and Oklahoma District Attorney Vicki Behenna. Behenna then directed the OSBI to report the investigation to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.
In March 2020, Swadley signed an exclusive contract with the state Department of Tourism and Recreation to provide restaurants in several state parks.
In April 2022, the state canceled its contract with Swadley due to allegations of fraudulent activity and unfair bidding practices.
That same month, Jerry Winchester, who was the Director of Tourism and Recreation at the time, resigned from the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.
The state later filed suit against Swadley for breach of contract.
In total, Swadley’s received $16.7 million from the state to renovate and operate restaurants in state parks.
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