Ex-Okla. educator indicted; Windstream also named
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The former superintendent for Broken Arrow Public Schools was indicted Thursday by Oklahoma's multicounty grand jury on bribery and conspiracy charges.
The allegations against Jim Sisney are detailed in a six-page indictment in Tulsa County District Court. An arraignment is set for Sept. 17, according to court records.
It was not immediately clear whether Sisney had an attorney and a home phone number listed for him was out of service Thursday. Records indicate he posted a $15,000 bond set by the court.
The indictment alleges that Sisney, who was fired in 2008 by the school board amid allegations of wrongdoing, accepted two all-session tickets to the 2007 men's NCAA Final Four tournament in Atlanta from Windstream Corp. The Little Rock, Ark., company, which is also named in the indictment, supplied telecommunication services to the district.
Sisney is accused of accepting the tickets and a promise of "other valuable gratuities" paid for by the company.
A school district spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday evening.
Windstream issued a statement denying improper behavior.
"We have always taken great pride in serving our customers with integrity," John Fletcher, executive vice president and general counsel for Windstream, said in the statement. "We have cooperated fully in the investigation and will vigorously contest the charges."
An audit of the school system released last year found possible wrongdoing involving open meetings guidelines and favoritism for vendors. The audit covered 18 separate issues dating from July 2006 to March 2009.
The findings prompted a criminal investigation, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asked Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones to review the district's operations.