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Records: D.A. sought sheriff’s accountability

By April 23, 2023May 12th, 2023No Comments

Records show it was five years ago this month that District Attorney Mark Matloff began seeking accountability in the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office for possibly illegal actions.

After Sheriff’s Captain Alicia Manning said in a March recorded meeting that Matloff had tried several times to get her and sheriff Kevin Clardy investigated, this newspaper made an Open Records Act request to the district attorney, asking for his contacts seeking investigations of the office.

For five years and with multiple attorneys general, Matloff has sought assistance on the matter, records show.

In April 2018, Matloff signed a statement, in the presence of the Clardy, that said deputies should not be allowed to work in uniform, and using county cars, at the Hochatown Saloon.

Matloff said the situation creates high liability risk for the county when the appearance is that law enforcement is acting in its official capacity.

Only one month later, at the request of county commissioners, Matloff asked that the sheriff’s office be investigated for allegations of:

  • Habitual or willful neglect of duty
  • Gross partiality in office
  • Oppression in office
  • Corruption in office
  • Extortion or willful overcharges of fees in office
  • Willful maladministration
  • Habitual drunkenness

The gross partiality claim alleged that it was very clear Clardy was “having an affair with his employee Alicia Manning. As a result, Manning, who has just a couple years’ experience in law enforcement, now is in an authority position in the sheriff’s office, and many employees would testify to her actions and the lack of consequences to her actions,” the complaint alleges.

“Sheriff Clardy has committed the offense of corruption in office by doing several things. Sheriff Clardy has committed the felony crime of adultery by being legally married and having a sexual affair with his employee Alicia Manning.

“Although this crime is often overlooked, it is clear that the sheriff’s wife Stacy Clardy has actually caught Sheriff Clardy with his employee on several occasions and ALL law enforcement working with Sheriff Clardy’s office have direct knowledge about the adultery.

“Sheriff Clardy has also committed extortion by demanding the McCurtain County Jail Trust give him $100,000 so he can move his office to a new location.”

The jail trust was funded by the county by a sales tax approved by taxpayers for operation and maintenance of the jail, not for the sheriff’s department, which gets its own sales tax revenue.

The complaint continues: “Sheriff Clardy has mishandled money in the past by participating himself and allowing other deputies to use county police cars and fuel to drive to other counties and work private security jobs while McCurtain County residents foot the bill.”

That allegation had previously been raised after an investigation by this newspaper.

“Sheriff Clardy receives a $600 monthly stipend for a vehicle allowance. If the sheriff receives a vehicle allowance he shouldn’t be allowed to use the county vehicles while in McCurtain County, but EVERY person in McCurtain County that isn’t blind has clearly seen him in a brand-new, county-owned and equipped vehicle. He has (driven) a county unit every day since he was elected to office, to and from work and out in the field. At $600 monthly times 55 months he’s been in office means he has fraudulently obtained $33,000 in funds by the county. In recent years, Tulsa County Sheriff Glanz was removed from office and one of the things he had done was use a county vehicle while receiving a monthly stipend…”

That request went to Attorney General John M. O’Connor.

Only three months later, Matloff wrote a new attorney general, Mike Hunter, about deputies being allowed to perform security at a local bar while in uniform and in county-issued vehicles, other allegations that had also been reported in this newspaper at the time.

Concerning deputies and administrators, including the sheriff himself, working private security for PSO in Hugo, using county vehicles, Matloff wrote: “In my opinion, they may have violated 47 O.S. 156.1.” He requested an investigation.

In 2021, the attorney general’s office did assign a prosecutor to investigate the sheriff.

Finally, Matloff wrote new Attorney General Genter Drummond on March 13 of this year.

In that letter, Matloff noted that over the last several years, both McCurtain Gazette publisher Bruce Willingham and the Board of County Commissioners have made numerous allegations to his office involving “criminal behavior and corruption” in the sheriff’s office, and that Matloff has “numerous times” sought investigations concerning that.

Now, he said, Willingham had obtained a recording, allegedly of a recent county commissioners’ meeting. He enclosed a statement from both Willingham about how he had obtained the recording, and from Idabel Assistant Chief Daryl Blakley, who had listened to the long audio about possible criminality revealed by the audio.

Mark Matloff Banner 2019