Grand jury to convene in October to investigate Owasso city government

Owasso

By RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer |

Jury selection will begin Oct. 17 for a Tulsa County grand jury set to investigate a former Owasso city manager and others associated with the city.

Presiding District Judge William C. Kellough made the announcement Friday morning after formally verifying a petition to impanel the grand jury.

Of the 9,627 signatures submitted on 1,267 pages by petitioner J.B. Alexander, 8,022 signatures of registered county voters were deemed valid, according to court records filed Thursday by the Tulsa County Election Board. By law, 5,000 signatures were needed to convene the grand jury.

Alexander’s attorney, Christopher Camp, declined to comment outside the courtroom.

The petition asks a grand jury to look into “possible criminal activity and a possible pattern of public corruption in the Owasso city government,” the petition states.

The documents claim that the offenses allegedly were committed “in relation to or resulting from the actions of former City Manager Rodney Ray and his political allies and allegedly involved certain business transactions.”

After an executive session at a special meeting June 25, the City Council approved a resignation pact for Ray, extending him a severance package worth $185,073.

He was suspended with pay May 24, the same day the council ordered an investigation into his office to look into an undisclosed employee ethics complaint.

In June, the city released two police videos of a Feb. 1 traffic stop involving Vice Mayor Chris Kelley, who was driven home by police after first being told he was being arrested for DUI. Kelley never was charged or jailed in connection with the stop, during which he told officers he had “had a few drinks.”

According to an internal memo, Ray ordered the deletion of the videos in April. Ray has declined requests for interviews.

The investigative portion of grand jury proceedings is closed to the public, and grand jurors are prohibited from discussing any part of the probe, including how they voted.

By law, the grand jury also must examine conditions at the Tulsa Jail.

At least nine of the 12 jurors must agree that enough evidence exists for an indictment. If no indictments are issued, the panel will draft a report of what it investigated, along with any recommendations.