By Chris Willingham
Last of two parts
When Mike Manning was appointed as undersheriff by sheriff Kevin Clardy on Dec. 21, 2021, this newspaper interviewed him the following day. The paper questioned Manning’s business, IN-Sight Technologies, which had county security and technology contracts, due to the obvious conflict of interest.
Manning said as of Dec. 22, 2021, he no longer owned the business or had any shares in it. He said in a recorded interview that he had sold the entire corporation to his wife, Tamera.
“She’s got 100 percent of the shares. I retained nothing,” he said.
When asked the amounts of con-tracts IN-Sight had with the county, Manning said: “We’ve done a few things for the county, but it’s really pretty miniscule.”
The New Yorker published a lengthy article about this newspaper and the sheriff’s department’s controversies on July 24.
New Yorker staff writer Paige Williams said she made several Open Records Act requests of both of the sheriff’s department and county clerk.
Williams wrote that Manning’s IN-Sight contracts with the county, which he referred to as “miniscule” amounts, totaled at least $239,000 since 2016 and at least $80,000 to the company since Manning was appointed undersheriff.
Manning told the paper on Dec. 22, 2021, that he had that day resigned from the company and transferred full ownership to his wife.
That never happened, according to Oklahoma Secretary of State records obtained by the paper.
IN-Sight’s state corporate certificate was just renewed this week, on Aug. 1, 2023, and it shows Manning as owner, president and director. Tamera Manning, Manning’s wife, is listed as registered agent, though she is listed under her maiden name Tamera Hickman, the records show.
For much of the company’s existence, Manning’s sister Alicia Manning was listed as a board member and treasurer. Alicia Manning was also registered agent of the corporation for years.
The MCSO Captain of All Investigations filed for a change of agent name multiple times with the state each time she got married and her legal name changed.
Records show Alicia Manning has been married four times.
The Oklahoma constitution prohibits conflicts of interest from “self-dealing” by any officer of the state, county or town under Article X, Section 11.
The article specifically addresses immediate members of an officer’s family being an “officer, partner or principal stockholder” in the corporation with which the government entity is doing business.
In the Dec. 22, 2021, interview, Manning told the paper, that no one actually owns a corporation.
“It’s a corporation. No one owns a corporation. You don’t own a corporation. It’s an S-Corp,” he said in the recorded interview.
Mike Manning was involved in a heated exchange Tuesday while he and Sheriff Kevin Clardy demanded jail trust records at the county commissioners’ office amid an alleged FBI probe into the jail trust.
Manning screamed at both Idabel Police Chief John Martin and County Commissioner Board Chairman John Williams, as seen on Idabel Police officer body cam obtained by the paper.
In the confrontation Manning exclaimed that the county buildings belonged to him, saying he runs all the security for the buildings.
After the two exchanges, Manning walked over to several Idabel Police officers and said, “This ain’t nothing to do with y’all. (John Williams) is a pile of s— for calling Idabel PD and Choctaw Tribal down here.”
“There’s a lot of shady stuff going on in this county and it ain’t us. We’ve been nothing but honest with you guys and with everybody else.
“For them to involve y’all and tribal police in county business? Really? What’s he trying to do, OK Corral us?”
Following the confrontation, Manning posted a flurry of angry Facebook posts on his personal Facebook page saying if anyone messed with one of his people, “Hell will look like a vacation compared to what I’ll bring down on you. THE REAL MCSO!”
A Thursday night posting said, “I call it like I see it. There are a whole lot of shady SOB’s running things and trying to take over McCurtain County. Good people need to stand up, be heard and take the county back.”
On July 29 he posted, “I have had it with all of these lying, pedophile-loving, police-hating people on fb. I’m done being nice. I will be calling them out.”
Manning concluded the December 2021 interview by telling the paper: “I believe you follow the constitution and you follow the laws of the state. I believe everything should be by the book and I don’t have a problem with (journalists) doing what you do. The law is the law.”
“I’m here to the help the people and help this community. That’s all I’ve ever done, as far as my law enforcement career,” he said.
By Chris Willingham