The Norman Transcript

April 2, 2014

Commissioner Sullivan won't seek re-election

Decision follows grand jury investigation into Etowah Road damage payment

By Andy Rieger
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Embattled Cleveland County Commissioner Rusty Sullivan announced today that he will not seek re-election to the District 3 post he has held for the past eight years.

“I apologize for the distraction this situation has caused. I announce that I will not be running for re-election in order to allow the County to move forward,” Sullivan said. “I wish nothing but the best for this great county and for my successor as County Commissioner.”

Sullivan, 61, made the announcement in a statement to The Transcript Wednesday morning. Earlier this week, he said he planned to file for a third term on April 9.

 He was the subject of a recent Oklahoma multi-county grand jury investigation into his acceptance of $19,900 in tree, shrub and fence damages from the county’s wideing of Etowah Road in Noble where he resides.

The grand jury, in a report issued this past week, accused — but did not indict — Sullivan of a misdemeanor charge of improperly accepting the $19,900 damage payment.

“I have been very grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Cleveland County. Recent events have caused friends and neighbors to ask if I will be running for reelection,” he said. “Although I disagree with the characterizations of my actions which have been put forward by my political opponents, it is time to move on.”

Earlier this week, fellow Republican county commissioners Darry Stacy and Rod Cleveland stripped Sullivan of his board chairmanship. Cleveland called on Sullivan to repay the money and Stacy called on him to resign the office.

“This has been a trying time for me and my family. I love public service and this County,"