Attorney General’s Office to work with OSBI in investigating Swadley’s scandal

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office will be working with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) in the investigation of any potential wrongdoing involving the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation and Swadley’s Bar-B-Q, according to Attorney General Gentner Drummond.

“This case includes allegations of fraud involving millions of dollars in taxpayer funds,” Drummond said. “Beginning immediately, my office will join with the OSBI to thoroughly investigate this matter. The Office of Attorney General is the appropriate entity to determine if the findings merit prosecution and, if they do, to prosecute any wrongdoers. One of my top priorities in this office is to end the culture of corruption and scandal. Oklahomans deserve true accountability in government.”

The decision to have the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office work with the OSBI came about after conversations between Drummond and Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna. Behenna then directed the OSBI to disclose the investigation to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.

In March 2020, Swadley’s entered into an exclusive contract with the state Department of Tourism and Recreation to provide restaurants at several state parks.

In April 2022, the state canceled its contract with Swadley’s following allegations of fraudulent activity and improper bidding practices.

That same month, Jerry Winchester, who was the Director of Tourism and Recreation at the time, resigned from the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.

The state later filed suit against Swadley’s for breach of contract.

In total, Swadley’s received $16.7 million from the state to renovate and operate restaurants at select state parks.