- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - A Cleveland County commissioner said he won’t step down despite a multicounty grand jury report that found he likely broke state laws for his involvement in a road project.

Rusty Sullivan rejected calls Monday for his resignation and said he plans to run for re-election. Last week, the grand jury issued a report that said Sullivan and his wife received $19,900 in 2011 to compensate them for damage to their property caused by the road project.

The report said Sullivan was involved in hiring the private company that negotiated payments to property owners affected by the project.

Sullivan “willingly and voluntarily placed himself in a position of having to choose between the interest of the Cleveland County residents and his own personal interest, which interfered with his duty to remain unbiased in the performance of his public duty as an elected official, and compromised his duty to serve his constituents,” the grand jury report said.

But Sullivan wasn’t charged with a crime after the grand jury said the statute of limitations to charge him had expired.

“This is a political thing,” Sullivan said after Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. “This has always been about politics.”

He declined to comment about the grand jury’s accusations.

During the meeting, board members voted to strip Sullivan of his chairmanship and instead elect Commissioner Darry Stacy as the new chairman, the Norman Transcript reported (https://bit.ly/1s2kh5W ). Stacy read a statement asking Sullivan to resign and said he would seek Sullivan’s removal from office if he did not step down.

Officials said the attorney general’s office or the multicounty grand jury would need to initiate the process to remove Sullivan from office.

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Information from: The Norman Transcript, https://www.normantranscript.com

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