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Investigatory Audit Finds Misspent Funds At Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel speaks at a luncheon in Oklahoma City in September.

The state auditor’s office released findings Tuesday from an investigation into the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office. The findings say the sheriff’s office unlawfully spent department funds under Whetsel’s leadership.

According to the review, the department failed to pay healthcare contracts even though money was available at the time. Auditors also determined Whetsel purchased nearly one million dollars worth of vehicles while other obligations weren’t met.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater requested the audit in March, saying there were multiple areas of concern. Whetsel denied misspending funds at the time, blaming election-year politics for the probe. But he has since retained former U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats.

Whetsel is currently running for his sixth term as sheriff. State Rep. Mike Christian, R — Oklahoma City, opposes him in the November 8 election.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office has seen the audit, but Whetsel has declined to comment until he returns to Oklahoma from a conference and meets with his staff. 

Kate Carlton Greer was a general assignment reporter for KGOU and Oklahoma Public Media Exchange.
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