- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Better Business Bureau of Tulsa alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday that Oklahoma state Sen. Rick Brinkley embezzled more than $1 million from the organization during his 15 years as president and chief operating officer.

The Tulsa World reported (https://bit.ly/1ATcM95 ) that the lawsuit claims Brinkley set up corporate entities to receive payments for phony credit card accounts and other alleged business expenses to “pay his mortgage, pool cleaner, personal credit card invoices, and to support a hidden gambling habit.”

It also alleges that Brinkley, who was fired by the BBB on April 26 amid an internal investigation, took cash advances for business trips he never made, drawing on the organization’s line of credit for his own use and falsifying records to hide discrepancies, and that he funneled money from his state campaign fund to a phony vendor.

The lawsuit asks for more than $10,000 in civil relief.

Brinkley’s attorney, Mack Martin, told the newspaper that he was not aware of the lawsuit and could not comment.

“I don’t know anything,” according to Martin.

Better Business Bureau attorney Kirk Turner declined to comment.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has said it is investigating allegations of misappropriation of BBB Funds.

Brinkley’s campaign expenditures indicate he paid $49,693.94 to the BBB on Jan. 7, but the reasons are unclear.

Martin told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he couldn’t comment on why his client wrote the check to the BBB. He released a statement from Brinkley, who stated that he was contacted by the OSBI “over two months ago and was asked to provide documents. I provided those documents and have not been contacted since.”

The lawsuit claims the check was intended to “deceitfully conceal the actual condition of the BBB from its Board of Directors.”

Brinkley, a Republican who was elected to the state Senate in 2010 representing north Tulsa County, served as president and CEO of the BBB from Aug. 2, 1999, to May 31, 2011, and as chief operating officer from June 1, 2011 until April 26.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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