Hofmeister calls for investigation and resignation of CLO Chambers secretary over whistleblower dismissal

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 29, 2022) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister requested that Thursday’s meeting of Land Office Commissioners (CLOs) include consideration of three items stemming from Secretary Elliot Chambers’ dismissal of an internal auditor who had faced potential conflicts of interest.

One of the five committee members, Hofmeister, asked earlier this week that the agenda include a discussion and possible action on the employment of Secretary Chambers, as well as a discussion on the dismissal of the internal auditor and subsequent settlement. Hofmeister said she also believed the allegations by the former internal auditor and another whistleblower warranted an investigative audit of the agency’s operations and finances.

‘As I have said recently, the concerns raised by the former internal auditor for the Land Office Commissioners are alarming and need to be fully investigated,’ she said. “Since that time, additional information has come forward that leaves me with no confidence in the leadership of the agency under Secretary Chambers. Accordingly, I believe it is in Oklahoma’s interest that Secretary Chambers resign immediately and respectfully invite him to do so.

Internal auditor Erin Morgan had asked Chambers about his relationship with Victorum Capital, an investment firm doing business with the CLO. On December 16, 2021, the commissioners voted 2 to 1 to give Victorum the authority to manage direct investments for the Commission. Although the CLO has never historically had two votes constituting a majority, in this case – with Hofmeister and another commissioner absent – ​​two votes were declared sufficient to pass the article.

Hofmeister objected to this action, later asking Chambers to seek an opinion from the Attorney General on the legality of the 2–1 vote, but Chambers refused to do so. Hofmeister then asked Attorney General John O’Connor to provide an opinion on the unprecedented 2-1 approval, as did the state superintendent’s statutory authority. In a particular response, O’Connor indicated that he would first need Hofmeister’s opinion on the subject before deciding whether or not to submit an opinion.

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