The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

July 11, 2013

Watchdog report on NODA credit card serves as cautionary tale concerning public funding

ENID, Okla. — Dale Denwalt’s watchdog reporting on questionable usage on a Northern Oklahoma Development Authority credit card serves as a cautionary tale.

According to Enid News & Eagle’s exclusive report, nearly $25,000 in questionable purchases were made while Jay States, a registered CPA and former accountant for NODA, acted as executive director in 2012 and 2013.

Charges were made to a livestock supply store, a sports memorabilia website and other vendors that have little or nothing to do with the agency’s mission.

The news is unfortunate for NODA, an important public trust.

NODA, which serves an eight-county area, is involved with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services aging services program, operates a regional transit system and acts as an economic development district.

Public funds are involved in this investigative story, which underscores the importance of oversight.

The agency derives its revenue through dues paid from its members, which includes the city of Enid.

NODA has declined to comment on this personnel issue following the resignation of States. It also appears the agency has taken no steps to pursue legal action against him.

Fortunately, States reimbursed $24,718.73 for charges the agency had questions about, NODA attorney Bryce Kennedy confirmed. NODA considers States to be “paid in full.”

We’re glad NODA is cooperating with public record laws.

We hope our report will shed light on the issue and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

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