• Oklahoma auditor alleges overspending on Tar Creek site

    Updated:
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma auditor says a cleanup contract for the heavily polluted Tar Creek Superfund site cost five times more than it should have.

    Auditor Gary Jones renewed his call for a 2011 audit on Monday. He accused the attorney general's office of covering up corruption at the site "by withholding a public document, paid for with public funds and conducted on behalf of the public."

    Jones alleged that the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust "spent over $3.6 million on a project when the cost could have been less than $600,000."

    Jones also accused former Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who now heads the Environmental Protection Agency, of impropriety in his decision to show the audit to the trust's attorney.

    "The former attorney general acted improperly when he shared the contents of the audit report with the subject of the audit," Jones said. "The impropriety was further compounded when he refused to share the audit with the people who paid for it - the taxpayers of Oklahoma."

    Pruitt ordered that the audit not to be released after its completion. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has upheld the order.

    A nonprofit, Campaign for Accountability, filed a lawsuit in November against Hunter and Jones seeking the audit's release. In response, Jones asked the court to declare the public's right to access the requested records.

    Hunter has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying his office is allowed to keep documents confidential. He said that Jones was acting as an agent of the Attorney General's Office when he conducted the audit.

    A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

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