Osage County Commissioner for District Two, Kevin Paslay, and a former employee for District Two, Tom Teel turned themselves into police on Wednesday on two separate charges. Paslay is being charged with bid rigging and Teel is being charged with two counts of embezzlement. They have since bonded out. Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden explains.
Paslay's investigation dates back to April 24, 2019 when Deputy Attorney General Rachel Rogers requested assistance from the OSBI. Rogers believed there may have been possible criminal conduct involving Paslay, as a former county employee made allegations that Paslay used county employees and county equipment to haul personal items from an auction in Tulsa to the District Two County barn in Skiatook.
The Attorney General's Office then handed the case over to the Washington County District Attorney's Office. During the course of their investigation, more allegations surfaced concerning the purchase of a vehicle from a surplus auction.
Robert Atkins, owner of Rob's Auto Sales in Skiatook provided the following information to the Washington County District Attorney's Office:
On November 9, 2019, Atkins received a phone call from Paslay saying that he was at a surplus auction in Tulsa. Paslay told Atkins that there was a vacuum truck that the county needed, but he didn't have enough money to buy the truck. Paslay asked Atkins if if he would be willing to buy the truck and then sell it to the county. Paslay told Atkins he would be able to, “make you a little bit for your trouble.” Atkins interpreted this to mean he could make a little money on the transaction.
Atkins agreed to buy the truck. The bid submitted was $36,000. Atkins originally bought the truck for $34,500. The process took longer than Atkins thought and it cost him $500 in interest.
Teel, meanwhile, had served as a foreman for District Two for 31 years. Years ago, Teel who is being charged with two counts of embezzlement, noticed a county 'dump trailer' parked in the District Two Barn. Teel took the trailer home and used it for personal use. In a recent Board of Osage County Commissioners meeting, Paslay asked Teel when he planned to bring metal pipes back to the county shop.
Teel plans to run against Paslay in the November election. Paslay said his legal counsel advised him it would be best not to make a comment on the matter at this time, but they plan to release a statement at some point.