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Attorney General taking over investigation into OSBI complaints

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (KOKH/FILE)

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is taking over the investigation into the head of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The move comes after months of controversy that began with a letter signed by dozens of employees of the agency and submitted to the OSBI Commission.

“It's my advice as your attorney that the disclosure of any of this information will seriously impair the ability of the public body to process the claim, so I recommend we go into executive session,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Tom Gruber told Commissioners during the special meeting Tuesday morning.

Absent from the meeting was Director Stan Florence, the subject of many employee complaints. FOX 25 was told Florence was on vacation.

RELATED: OSBI administration faces complaints of retaliation

Commissioners met behind closed doors for the better part of two hours. Typically, commissioners are accompanied into executive session by the OSBI general counsel. However, the meeting agenda noted there was a potential conflict of interest between the OSBI’s attorney and the needs of the investigation.

“I have no comment,” Chairman Rusty Noble told FOX 25 when asked about what the conflict was and why the Attorney General’s office would be conducting the investigation into complaints filed against Florence.

“I think it is a great deal for the state of Oklahoma,” House Public Safety Chairman Representative Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, said. “The people of Oklahoma deserve a third party looking into this situation, it's been going on for five months and nothing has happened.”

RELATED: Lawmaker calls for firings over OSBI scandals

Cleveland had filed for an interim House study to examine the administration and policies of the OSBI. He put a pause on that request after learning the director of the OSBI had agreed to a state audit of the agency. However, Cleveland says the status of that audit is in doubt and his study could still happen.

Cleveland has met with employees who expressed concerns about the agency and said he was upset by what he learned from multiple FOX 25 investigations into the agency and its leaders.

RELATED: OSBI facing questions over employee safety

“There's got to be some better changes in the way Oklahoma treats their employees,” Cleveland told FOX 25, “This is a good example of what has happened here and employees of Oklahoma deserve better than this.”

Cleveland also said the situation has bolstered his belief that the OSBI should be consolidated with other law enforcement agencies. He is hosting another interim study that would put the OSBI together with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the ABLE Commission. He believes doing so would eliminate unnecessary administrative overhead and create a more efficient law enforcement agency.

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