Arena football co-owner questioned in Teddy Mitchell case
OKLAHOMA CITY – Another high-profile Oklahoma businessman has been caught in the net of the federal gambling investigation into Teddy Mitchell.
One of the owners of the arena football team that used to be the Tulsa Talons was interviewed by the FBI as part of the case, Paul Ross.
Federal investigators have been talking with Mitchell’s alleged customers since at least the time of the bombing, 1995.
Mitchell hired criminal defense attorney Scott Adams to represent him after he was charged with multiple felonies in connection with an illegal gambling operation.
“Every day we are getting in thousands and thousands of documents. It’s an enormous task for my office to go through all those documents. Teddy has been at my office literally every day.” said Adams.
In the past several months a number of reputable Oklahomans have been connected to the criminal investigation.
According to sources close to the case, many of the so-called customers have been promised immunity in exchange for their testimony and cooperation with the case.
Last month, the athletic director at the University of Tulsa, Ross Parmley, was fired from his post after being implicated in a recently unsealed indictment.
Another wealthy Oklahoma businessman is involved in the case, Paul Ross.
Ross used to be the owner of the Tulsa Talons.
The team has since moved to San Antonio.
Ross is now a minority owner.
Ross also owns a number of oil and gas companies.
He is mentioned in the same indictment as Parmley.
According to federal investigators Ross is an “admitted gambler” who made “gambling payments” to Teddy Mitchell.
“Professionally it has affected a lot of people and their jobs and what the community thinks of them. I don’t think it should, but that’s what’s happening. I think that’s just sad.” Adams said.
According to internal records about the FBI investigation Ross met with FBI agents about the case in October of 2011.
According to Ross’ interview with the FBI there were at least eight checks “written for the express purpose of paying gambling losses owed to Teddy Mitchell.”
Late Tuesday, Paul Ross admitted in a phone interview that he had made sports bets with Teddy Mitchell.
Ross said he made them as part of a small group of gamblers and was told by the FBI that placing a bet was not illegal.
Ross said he always paid Mitchell by check, never cash.
Ross is not accused of a crime.
He has not been indicted.
The federal investigation has always been focused on Teddy Mitchell.
As for Ross’ involvement with the Tulsa Talons, on Tuesday Ross said he had sold the team and was no longer involved in the arena football business.
However, according to the Commissioner of the Arena Football League, Jerry Kurz, Ross is still a member of a group that has minority interest in the Talons.
According to Commissioner Kurz, Ross’ alleged gambling does not appear to be a violation of any league regulation.
Kurz said league policy deals exclusively with betting on league games, but there is no rule against betting on sports outside of arena football.
“I don’t know that I have any authority to regulate the activity of one of our owners outside of our business.” said Kurz.
Mitchell’s case is expected to go to go to jury trial next April.