A state Senator has asked Governor Frank Keating to dismiss the State Bond Advisor after reading a letter in which State Bond Advisor Jim Joseph appears to endorse a specific bond underwriter currently seeking to underwrite a new bond in the state.
Senator Dave Herbert, D-Midwest City, refers to a letter Joseph wrote in response to questions from David Hinkle, senior vice-president of the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority, about an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation ) of a specific bond underwriting firm.
In the letter, Joseph states he has spoken to the lawyer for Leo Oppenheim & Company, who told him the company has "vigorously denied any wrongdoing." Joseph goes on to state that "none of the investigations would be likely to impair Leo Oppenheimer's ability to serve effectively..."
"After all the recent problems Oklahoma has experienced with bond underwriters, our chief bond advisor has no business endorsing or appearing to endorse any firm that seeks to do business with the state or any city within the state," said Herbert, ` D-Midwest City. "And, his endorsement based on the word of the firm's attorney. It's pathetic."
"I'm not saying this particular firm has done anything illegal, but if you ask Charles Manson's attorney, I'm sure he would also deny any wrongdoing by his client."
Herbert said the State Bond Advisor's only job is to determine if a bond issue is feasible and if it serves a good public purpose.
"The Bond Advisor has no business advising anyone about any particular company. In doing so he gives certain companies an edge in the bidding process," he said. "This creates the appearance of shady, backroom deals that have no place in State government."