Petitions aimed at Rodney Ray’s alleged crimes
Concerned citizens in Owasso are circulating a petition for a grand jury investigation into alleged criminal activity of former city manager Rodney Ray.
Ray was forced to resign in June after he was arrested for allegedly writing a bogus check of more than $3,000 in 2010 and filing a false police report.
Because he agreed to resign, the city paid him $185,073 in compensation and closed his personnel file.
Jerry B. Alexander, former chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party, signed the petition for the grand jury.
“The petition speaks for itself,” Alexander said.
On July 29, Tulsa County Presiding District Judge William C. Kellough issued an order authorizing that a grand jury be impaneled pending the collection of $5,000 signatures from Tulsa County registered voters. According to state statutes the signatures must be obtained within 45 days from the judges’ order. Any Tulsa County registered voter can sign.
Alexander said he hopes to collect more than 7,000 signatures by the deadline on Sept. 12.
Copies of the petition are available at www.owassotaxpayer.com.
The petition cites possible criminal activity by Ray, Owasso City Councilor Wayne Guevara, The First Bank of Owasso, The Owasso Land Trust and other business and financial institutions. It claims they profited from Ray’s favorable handling of transactions with the Owasso City Government.
The charges include:
- Ray was charged with writing a bad check and filing a false police report. He ordered the destruction of police incident videos that would have embarrassed political ally Vice Mayor Christopher Kelley, who was arrested for DUI after failing a sobriety test. Kelley was released without charges being filed and driven home by an Owasso police officer.
- Kelley was part of closed executive sessions of the City Council in which Ray was given a substantial severance package. This may have violated the Open Meeting Law. Ray’s resignation was investigated by a private attorney hired by the city and the findings were sealed. Internal complaints filed against Ray may have been hidden or destroyed.
- It alleges Ray used city resources to benefit First Bank of Owasso with a water and sewer line extension to a vacant lot owned by the bank. These funds were earmarked for widening of Garnett Road.
- It claims that First Bank of Owasso would not be required to comply with normal storm water detention regulations.
- The petition alleges Ray facilitated a new traffic signal for the bank at a cost of $60,000 that a hired traffic engineer said was unnecessary. Ray had the invoices split into amounts less than $25,000 – his personal approval limit.
- It claims Ray tried to facilitate the city’s purchase of a commercial building owned by the bank at an inflated price – nearly double its fair market value and more than $1 million more than its worth.
- It alleges the bank gave Ray a defacto “no fee overdraft” checking account that let him write insufficient checks with no penalty. This was a possible source of bribery and blackmail. There is an issue of the co-mingling of Ray’s personal funds and campaign accounts.
- When Stone Canyon Development ran into limestone strata problems, the petition alleges Ray did not have the city intervene until there was a discussion of donations to political campaigns he supported. The Owasso Public Works Authority gave more than $5 million to sewer construction work in Stone Canyon Development.
- Ray directed the city to lease a parcel of land to the Owasso Land Trust for 99 years at $10 a year. The land is in prime right-of-way along the road to the new Smith Farm Shopping Center.
- The petition states a discussion was held between Ray and the Owasso Land Trust that he be named the ad hoc “city manager” of the unincorporated Stone Canyon Development and he be paid a percentage of the utility billings.
- There is a question about an action by the Owasso Land Trust and its letting Ray and his wife essentially use some retail property for free. A bill for default rent reached $41,000. That was reduced to $7,500 and sent to small claims court where it was dropped (perhaps due to a settlement not shown in the records).
- Concerning Guevara, the petition alleges the city took over repair of private streets in his neighborhood while he was in office. The value of Guevara’s home increased and he sold it to buy a house in Preston Lakes Subdivision, built by Pete Kourtis, a principal in the Owasso Land Trust.
- The petition claims that in 2008, Owasso Community Resources, a United Way partner agency, fired its executive director and hired Guevara’s wife. Ray was on the OCR board at the time.
- There are questions about campaign donation limits to Guevara.
- It alleges Ray tried to recruit a city employee to run for the City Council and promised to find funding for the campaign. He also gave him specific filing instructions and campaign directions.
- The petition claims Ray met with Owasso City employees in private homes and pressured them to contribute to selected candidates.
The summary of allegations are:
Destruction of public records
Destruction of evidence
Open Meeting Law violations
Bribery of a public official
Receipt of a bribe by a public official
Conspiracy to bribe a public official
Operation of a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization
Acquisition of an interest in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization
Receipt of proceeds from a racketeer-influence corrupt organization
A Tulsa County judge has 30 days to impanel a grand jury.
Ray has not publicly responded to the charges or the petition effort.