Investigation Churns Forward

U.S. Attorney for Western Oklahoma William R. Burkett, the Associated Press declared, faced a fight “to save his career; and he is under attack by a judge who more than once has fought the entire U.S. judiciary to a standstill. And Burkett has enraged Chandler by defying his authority….The fight with Burkett already has acquired some of the convoluted aspects of some of Chandler’s career battles.”


The Oklahoman quickly appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay Chandler’s order. That court immediately did so, over the telephone. Simultaneously, Chandler’s colleagues on the Oklahoma federal bench—Fred Daugherty, Luther Eubanks, and Luther Bohanon—unanimously ordered Chandler’s decision nullified. The 10th Circuit subsequently sided with Burkett on all issues. It dismissed the Halls’ suit, declared a permanent injunction against Pike being forced to be deposed by his attorneys, and reversed Chandler’s disbarments.


A few months later, Chandler opted for “senior status” as a judge, which greatly reduced his case load.


The Halls’ suit and Chandler’s actions failed to stymie a gathering host of building contractors, mechanical, electrical, painting, and concrete subcontractors, and even Hall’s own personal secretary Pike. All gave sworn testimony that, according to author and former legislator Frates, “established a laundry list of fraud and corruption infractions by Hall.”


Again quoting Frates, despite Hall’s consistent claims of innocence:


“Many campaign contributions made to Hall had gone straight into his pocket rather than the campaign bank account. These funds were used for personal expenses, such as Hall’s law office rent, monthly loan installment payments, and payments on Hall’s home mortgage. Campaign funds raised from ‘Victory Dinners’ were used to pay off Hall’s $60,000 personal bank loan. An organization known as the ‘Governor’s Club’…led to a collection of another $60,000…Funds raised from architects, engineers, and other state contractors on a monthly basis went partly to Hall’s personal expenses.”


Attorney General Derryberry digested all this. He listened to reports from close friends with personal knowledge of kickback arrangements between Hall and state contractors. He conducted his own three-month investigation. He sorrowfully concluded that his friend had lied to his face—and to a lot of other people.

 

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Statehood - 2020s

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