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Article 42
Full audio covers wide range of bombshell threats, plans
Last of a series
By Chris, Angie Willingham

(Advisory: This article contains foul language)

The new Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond emphasizes the importance of access to public information and open government. The Gazette shares this mission to provide full transparency in our coverage. The audio and story have drawn the attention of the entire country.

In that light, we are releasing the video of the Tasering of Bobby Dale Barrick by former McCurtain County Sheriff Deputy Matt Kasbaum (see related article).

We are also releasing the full, unedited audio and transcript of the March 6, 2023, open meeting of the McCurtain County Commissioners. The transcript has been transcribed to the best of our ability, as dialect makes the dialogue difficult to distinguish in places. With this transcription, the Gazette in no way certifies its complete accuracy, and encourages all readers to listen to the audio recording provided for themselves. Every effort has been made to make this the most accurate reflection of the open meeting proceedings.

Present on the recording are County Commissioner Chairman Mark Jennings and Commissioner Robert Beck discussing routine business and purchase orders.

Commissioner John Williams is not present for the meeting.

Also appearing on recording, in order, are newspaper publisher Bruce Willingham, County Commissioner secretary Heather Carter, longtime county employee Daniel Graham, County Clerk Trish Ricketts, and McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, Captain of All Officers Alicia Manning, and former undersheriff and current-County Jail administrator Larry Hendrix.

While the first article of the series focused on the racist remarks and threats to the lives of Gazette publisher Bruce Willingham and reporter Chris Willingham, the meeting included a host of other topics.

Manning alleges physical affair with former chairman

In Chris Willingham’s investigative series into alleged corruption in the sheriff’s office, his first article focused on addressing rumors of an alleged affair between Manning and Clardy. Willingham has written more than 30 articles on alleged corruption in this administration over the last two years.

“You ain’t read the paper?” Manning asked, laughing.

“You’re too bashful. You won’t say it,” said Jennings.

“When all that s— going on with the paper? I said y’all better watch it, ‘cause I’m fixing to tell Willingham that I’ve been under the damn table with Westbrook, that’s how we got them pay raises and stuff. You wanna talk s— about me and Clardy?

We’re fixing to start some s— about me and Westbrook.”

Jimmy Westbrook is the former McCurtain County Commissioner Chairman. He retired from that position early this year, and Jennings took his position.

Manning alleges reporter is part of pedophilia ring

The same day as the meeting, Willingham filed a federal defamation and civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Kevin Clardy, Captain Alicia Manning, the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Department and the Board of County Commissioners. The suit claims that in retaliation for Chris’s investigation, Manning told a third party that Willingham exchanged weed for child porn videos from a former teacher recently arrested for child porn.

Manning and Hendrix alleged that Willingham is part of a local pedophilia ring.

“But what everybody doesn’t realize is how deep that s— runs,” said Hendrix.

“There’s all kinds of people, all kinds of somebodies involved in that s—. Judges and former Judges. Corruption, corruption, corruption.”

Manning discussed what she believes is the motivation behind Chris’s investigation.

“They think, he thinks that if you guys force Kevin to fire me, then it’ll just go away,” said Manning. “So he’s just going to keep running until the commissioners go, ‘Clardy, you need to get rid of her.’ In the old school way of doing things, they would put enough heat on the sheriff for you to get rid of me.”

Contempt of leadership, casual threats of violence

The group had many derogatory things to say about local and state leadership, the majority of their ire aimed at McCurtain County District Attorney Mark Matloff.

Manning mocked Matloff’s efforts to have the Attorney General intervene with the sheriff’s office.

“He told me he’s wrote six letters to the AG’s office on me and Kevin,” said Manning.

“…The AG he was talking to actually come down here,” said Sheriff Clardy.

“They don’t care,” Manning answered. “They don’t care what happens. Nobody f—ing likes him. Nobody. He’s just a little old chihuahua.”

The sheriff relayed an incident where he physically intimidated the district attorney. “He called up and said I was a liar. And I went over to his f—ing office and I, I’ll tell you one thing, mother—-er. I ain’t no f—ing liar. I shouldn’t have said what I did. He was looking for a place to get out of his damn door…I was standing right in the middle of his door. I went over there to whoop his ass. I got pissed off. I got pissed off.”

Manning expressed her ire for the area judges. “Them judges over there? They ain’t got s— for brains. They are old (?) and old men.”

Threats, boasts of intimidation

Sheriff Clardy, Captain Manning, jail administrator Larry Hendrix and Commissioner Chairman Mark Jennings discussed at length various ideas for harming Gazette employees.

“So what kind of trouble are we gonna be stirring?” Captain of All Officer Alicia Manning asked.

During the meeting Commissioner Jennings offered an idea. “What you need to do is, I’m gonna go with Cody (McDaniel) I’m gonna buy him a worn out tank it’s got a, let’s see, it’s got a bad steering clutch on the left and we’ll go about 30 miles through town, we’ll go through that stop sign and just make a detour right through GI and right through make a detour and right through and just say sorry I couldn’t stop this mother—-er.”

Cody McDaniel is the McCurtain County Emergency Management Director and an MSCO reserve deputy. He is also the cousin of Sheriff Kevin Clardy.

McDaniel said a lengthy prayer at the opening of the April 17, 2023, commissioners meeting, which was attended by a large amount of media and approximately 100 protests outside, calling form resignations of those officials involved in the March 6, 2023, recording.

Clardy replied to Jennings, “You’ll have to beat my son to it. He’s already got a bright idea he’s gonna put rip right in the front door.” Clardy’s son Kyler Clardy is also McCurtain County Deputy.

Manning went on to boast of times she’s intimidated reporter Chris Willingham in public.

“I saw him at Walmart one day, pushing his little buggy with his little six pack in and I mean I was like right here,” said Manning. “And I mean I didn’t even check up. I not even check up and that little sonofabitch bout wrecked his buggy. And I’m like, what the hell’s wrong with you?”

The sheriff also relayed an incident of a deputy intimidating and verbally assaulting the reporter.

“My son the other day, cause, I mean, he doesn’t, he doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. He walked into Choctaw Travel Plaza,” said the sheriff. “Chris was standing in line when he walked up when he got there. Chris turned around started on, and looked at him and said something to him and Kyler looked at him said ‘f— you, mother—-er! Don’t talk to me.’ Said Chris had a bag of chips and threw it on the counter and said I don’t think I need that then turned around and walked out. Kyler said he just started dying laughing.”

“One of these days I’m gonna bounce his ass. Give him something…” said Sheriff Clardy.

The group discussed an incident where the sheriff agreed to take a drug test during a county commissioner meeting to dispel rumors that he was on methamphetamine. He agreed to take a hair follicle drug test as long as investigative reporter Chris Willingham took one as well.

Chris did not agree to the testing, and the sheriff instead took a urine drug test, which he passed, but the sheriff refused the hair follicle test.

Unaware that his son was being targeted, Bruce Willingham offered his own hair for the drug test (The Gazette doesn’t drug test its employees).

“No,” said Westbrook.” It has to be Chris.”

“I wish he had shown up,” the sheriff said. “We were fixing to Mirandize him in front of that damn meeting. I don’t know if I told y’all about that s—. Sell that f—-ing sonofabitch and throw some f—-ing handcuffs on him.”
Such an arrest would have been a violation of Chris Willingham’s civil rights, as he has not been charged with any sort of crime and no arrest warrant had been issued for him.

Hazing incidents

The group also boasted of hazing county deputies.

“Some of them cops was whining the other day about us smokin vapes,” said Manning. “And I told them, and I told him I said I tell you what, I am the captain and I will light a cigarette in this morning meeting and blow my smoke in everybody’s face in here and you’ll like it. Stop. I ain’t got time for whining.”

Hendrix outlined what he described as his worst hazing incident of a rookie deputy.

Hendrix was undersheriff before moving to jail administrator in December 2021.

“I think the worst thing that I’ve ever done to a rookie, we had this guy, and he just died on the toilet. I mean he just had a heart attack and died on the pooper,” said Hendrix. “But we got a little bitty rookie investigator with me named Brent (?) for the Nation I think now, but he comes in here and me and Darren Upton and I are standing there and they’re kinda being, and I say, ‘Hey Brent, so you’re the baby here, so you gotta do the swab.’ And he said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘Well, he’s on the toilet here and we need to get a fecal matter sample to make sure it hadn’t nothing — that he wasn’t poisoned.’ He’s like, ‘Dude, are you shitting me?’ I said, ‘No, we’ll roll him off and get him ready for ya.’ And he was gonna do it! (laughter). We were like, nah. (laughter) Darren got weak. He’s like, ‘No, no. He’s screwing with ya, Brent!’ But he was gonna do it!”

Discussion of animal deaths

The sheriff outlines his frustration with animal rights activists contacting him regarding animal abuse cases. He relayed a recent story of a donkey reported missing and its subsequent death.

“…And then we get a report that two mules have been stolen. Two mules,” the sheriff said. “We locate the donkeys, one of them, and you can’t make this shit up, dude. Got loose, walked down the road, got tangled up on a front porch and the rope strangled or hung himself but it was next to a brand new Camaro and he beat that Camaro to pieces. The whole side of the Camaro in! The donkey did! And he hanged himself…you can’t make this shit up. He beat up the Camaro he beat the whole side of it kicking that Camaro. But he got hung up on around a post and just kept on running and cut his wind off and strangled himself. So we found a donkey dead by the side of the house and he beat up the Camaro. You can’t make that stuff up, dude.”

Unreported jailer assault

Jail administrator Larry Hendrix relayed an unreported case of a female jailer being assaulted by an inmate the night prior.

“It comes down to pride and arrogance. I had a female jailer got her ass whooped last night,” said Hendrix. “…I hope she got humbled down last night cause that little ‘ol 90-pound something gal just…spider monkeyed her ass. I mean you could see it coming.”

Other items of discussion

  • There is discussion of releasing pepperball blasts inside the courthouse, pepperballing county employees.
  • A number of prominent McCurtain County employees and citizens are discussed at length in disparaging remarks.
  • There is at-length discussion of giving themselves pay raises and buying themselves new county vehicles.
  • There are also nine references to Manning in a bikini, most by Manning herself, and to her general attractiveness.
  • Manning said that when County Commissioner Mark Jennings calls her, her phone comes up with the words, “Mark Jennings Use Me.”
  • There are many untrue statements made within the audio. Among those that are false is the statement made against Idabel National Bank claiming that it broke the law. This is not true.

**We will have four or five more articles coming from the April 23 weekend edition