- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Tulsa Better Business Bureau said Tuesday it would audit itself after the state lawmaker who once ran it was fired in April, while the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said it is looking into allegations of misappropriated funds at the BBB.

State Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, led the Tulsa-based Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Oklahoma from 1999 until 2011 and then served as the agency’s chief operating officer. He was fired on April 26 following an internal investigation, according to BBB interim manager Carrie Hurt. She did not comment on the termination beyond a statement introducing her as the interim director, and authorities would not say what potential crimes or wrongdoing they are investigating.

Campaign expenditures on file with the state indicate Brinkley paid $49,693.94 to the BBB on Jan. 7, but the reasons are unclear.

Attorney Mack 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.”

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said in a statement Tuesday that the agency opened a case the same day that the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office requested an investigation into allegations of misappropriation of BBB funds.

“The district attorney will determine whether any crimes were broken and by whom,” the statement said.

The statement from Brinkley, who was elected to the state Senate in 2010, also said that his present concerns include his family and constituents.

“As most of you know, I am pretty straightforward, so I don’t like finding myself in a position where I can’t say more than that, but because this is an ongoing matter, I must leave it there for now,” he said.

Messages seeking comment from Brinkley were not immediately returned Tuesday.

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