Legislative committee created to probe Swadley’s deal with state parks

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Legislature has organized its first investigative committee in years.

The committee will look into the much-criticized business deal between Swadley’s Restaurants and state parks.

Earlier this week, the Department of Tourism canceled the $17 million contract with Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchens.

The speaker of the House of Representatives said that while law enforcement will figure out whether laws were broken, the special House committee will determine if laws need to be changed.

“It’s a tough business and I respect anyone that goes into it, but there were some things that were pretty egregious that were a lot of red flags that I had questions about, will continue to have questions about, and I look forward to getting those answers,” state Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, said.

Martinez will chair the committee.

“The speaker and the House very much realize it is our job to track down every single taxpayer dollar and find out exactly what happen and make sure it never happens again,” he said.

Martinez said he wants the committee to do its job thoroughly and correctly, even if it takes longer.

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday commented again on Swadley’s investigation.

“I have called for more audits than any other governor in state history and welcome the Legislature joining me to protect the taxpayers and shine a light on any kind of corruption or bad actors involved in state government,” he said.