Randi Miller campaign contributions: those "special agenda citizens"

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Today I received a call from Merlyn Rios at the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, saying they had the pre-primary contribution and expenditure (C-1) reports for Randi Miller and Karen Keith for Tulsa County Commission District 2. I'll post Karen Keith's report later; since she's not a primary candidate (she's the only Democrat to file for the office), it's less urgent.

Here is Randi Miller's pre-primary C-1 form. Miller raised $39,500, of which $2,700 was in contributions of $200 or less. Miller reports spending $33,935.60, of which $25,500 has been spent on radio and television. Note that the report is incomplete, as Miller did not list the date on which each contribution was accepted.

In this morning's debate on 1170 KFAQ, moderated by Pat Campbell, Miller said, "Every person that is mad at me, they have an agenda." And she referred to this group of people who don't like her as "special agenda citizens."

It's interesting: When Campbell asked Miller to name her biggest contributors, she mentioned Danny O'Brian and Joe Robson, but she didn't mention George Kaiser, who gave the same amount as Robson ($2,500) and has an instantly recognizable name. Nearly every voter would associate the name of the wealthiest man in Oklahoma with last fall's river tax package, for which Randi Miller was head cheerleader.

(You can listen to the podcast of the 1170 KFAQ Sally Bell - Randi Miller debate here. The podcast of this afternoon's round-table discussion of the debate with myself, Chris Medlock and Charlie Biggs is here.)

The list of contributors, people who like her enough to give her lots of campaign money, sure looks like a list of "special agenda citizens" to me. Many have some connection to last fall's failed county sales tax increase for river-related projects. One is a fairgrounds tenant (maybe two). Here's the list, by largest amount first. Spellings are as they are on the form. Parenthetical notes are mine.

$5,000: Danny O'Brian (P. O. Box 698, Sand Springs, executive of Cust-O-Fab)

$2,500: George Kaiser, Joe Robson

$2,000: Chet Cadieux (QuikTrip), Emmit Hahn (Chili Bowl promoter), Larry Edwards (see below)

$1,500: Jay Helm (American Residential Group)

$1,000: Tom Maxwell (Flintco), Brad Smallwood, Mark Tedford, Henry Zarrow, Tom Kivisto (formerly of SemGroup), Stacy Schusterman, Keith Bailey, W. R. Lissau, Walt Helmerich, Dennis Hall, Lynn Mitchell (of the Jenks River District), Stuart Price (Bill Clinton crony and one-time Democratic nominee for Congress)

$500: Hasting Siegfried, Art Couch (roads contractor), John Walker, Scott Morgan, Ray Morgan, Darton Zink, Tom Golden, Albert Kelly, Montie Box (Sand Springs real estate mogul)

$300: Rick Huffman (Branson, Mo.)

$250: Ken Levit (George Kaiser Family Foundation), Mitch Adwon, Jono Helmerich, Guy Berry, John Gaberino, Stephen Franklin, Jim Spoan, Mike Kimbrel (Jenks River District).

I was puzzled about the $2,000 contribution from "Larry Edwards." There is someone by that name who was was chairman of Global Power Equipment Corp., a company that went through Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2006, emerging in January 2008.

But then I noticed that "Larry Edwards" is next to "Emmit Hahn" at the very end of the list. I found the following info on the "about" page of the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals (emphasis added):

Two weeks after Christmas, the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals arrives like a gift from Santa Claus. In the Oklahoma metropolis of Tulsa, "Santa" is Emmett Hahn and Lanny Edwards, organizers of the four-night race meet since its 1987 inception.

Hahn and Edwards lease the IPE Building Expo Building QuikTrip center from the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority (of which Miller, as county commissioner, is a member) every January to run midget cars around an indoor dirt track.

Given that Hahn's first name was misspelled or mistranscribed, it's not hard to imagine that a handwritten "Lanny" became a typewritten "Larry." The names on the contributor list are not sorted by name or amount, so I suspect they are sorted in the order the contribution was received. Since Hahn and Edwards are listed together, it may be that they contributed on the same day. If the filing were complete, with a date for each contribution, it would be easier to know for sure.

So instead of getting $5,000 from Big Splash owner Loretta Murphy (who apparently doesn't have that kind of money to throw around any more), Miller is getting money from another Fairgrounds tenant, split up perhaps to make it seem less obvious.

MORE: A reader notes that Jono Helmerich is chairman of the Friends of the Fairgrounds Foundation and Tom Maxwell and Darton Zink are members of the board. The same reader notes that the notary public who notarized Miller's form is Ella McKenzie, Miller's taxpayer-funded secretary. Either she had McKenzie notarize it on county time or on her own time, and I'm not sure which is worse. She already had her chief deputy handle some legal business for her on his lunch hour. (I wonder if Miller has a flower fund.)

Also, in the comments, Tasha points out that contributor Rick Huffman is the fellow who built Branson Landing and proposed a similar development for Tulsa's west bank.

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2 Comments

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

the list of names is interesting but the spending is moreso. Miller uses mostly radio and TV ads, she's in control. Sally Bell has less money and is using yard signs and little else. Kind of David and Goliath.

On Campbell's show Wednesday, Miller often retreated to politico speak and the "I've been there" phraseology. A little condescedning is the way it sounded to me. In other words, this is the way I did it and its right because I'm the incumbent.

Tasha said:

Pretty sure Rick Huffman is the Branson Landing guy...

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 23, 2008 10:34 PM.

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