The Norman Transcript

Headlines

August 6, 2013

6 plead guilty in bribery linked to Choctaw casino

TULSA — Six people linked to the construction of a Choctaw Nation casino pleaded guilty to bribery charges, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Five of the six people — Lauri Parsons, her husband Brent Parsons, Cordell Bugg, James Stewart, and Mark Eshenroder — owned or worked for companies that performed work or sold materials for the construction of the Durant casino, the U.S. attorney’s office for the eastern district of Oklahoma said. The other person, Allen Franklin, was a project manager for the tribe.

All six were charged with conspiracy to commit theft or bribery of programs that receive federal funds, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Brent Parsons was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and Stewart was charged with money laundering. Each of those counts is punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.

According to prosecutors, the Parsons owned Builders Steel, a Tulsa company that sold steel to the tribe, and Stewart worked for the company. Bugg and Eshenroder worked for Flintco, a Tulsa-based construction management company hired by the tribe.

Attempts to locate their attorneys through court records were unsuccessful.

The Choctaw Nation said in a statement Monday that a routine audit relating to the casino project found discrepancies from the purchase of steel from Builders Steel, and eventually revealed the tribe had been overcharged for those purchases. The tribe said the matter was turned over to federal investigators.

“The Choctaw Nation expects to be made whole with respect to any losses,” the statement, which did not comment on former employee Franklin, said. “Since legal proceedings are presently ongoing, it is not appropriate for the nation to comment further at this time.

Flintco issued a statement Monday saying it regretted the harm caused to the Choctaws and disclosed that a third, unnamed former employee, was under investigation. It didn’t name the former worker, but said it was cooperating with the investigation.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014