Hofmeister calls for investigation, resignation of CLO Secretary Chambers in wake of whistleblower’s firing

Wednesday, 29 June 2022 07:26

Hofmeister calls for investigation, resignation of CLO Secretary Chambers in wake of whistleblower’s firing Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY (June 29, 2022) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has requested that Thursday’s meeting of the Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) include consideration of three items stemming from Secretary Elliot Chambers’ firing of an internal auditor who had confronted him about potential conflicts of interest.

One of five members of the commission, Hofmeister earlier this week asked that the agenda include discussion and possible action on Secretary Chambers’ employment, as well as discussion of the internal auditor’s firing and subsequent settlement. Hofmeister said she also believes allegations from the former internal auditor and another whistleblower warrant an investigative audit of the agency’s operations and finances.

“As I have said recently, the concerns raised by the former internal auditor at the Commissioners of the Land Office are alarming and need to be fully investigated,” she said. “Since that time, additional information has been presented that leaves me without confidence in the direction of the agency under Secretary Chambers. As a result, I believe it is in Oklahoma’s best interest that Secretary Chambers immediately resign and respectfully call on him to do so.”

The internal auditor, Erin Morgan, had questioned Chambers about his relationship with Victorum Capital, an investments firm doing business with the CLO. On Dec. 16, 2021, commissioners voted 2-1 to give Victorum authority to manage direct investments for the Commission. Although the CLO historically has never had two votes constitute a majority, in this instance – with Hofmeister and another commissioner absent – two votes were declared sufficient to pass the item.

Hofmeister objected to this action, later asking Chambers to request an attorney general opinion on whether the 2-1 vote is lawful, but Chambers refused to do so. Hofmeister subsequently requested Attorney General John O’Connor provide an opinion on the unprecedented 2-1 approval, as is the state superintendent’s statutory authority. In a peculiar response, O’Connor indicated he would first need Hofmeister’s opinion on the subject before he would decide whether to submit an opinion.

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