OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Just a day after a criminal investigation was requested, the man in charge of the agency that sends tens of millions of dollars to Oklahoma public schools and colleges has resigned. Elliot Chambers, Secretary of the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office, said he’ll leave his post in August.
“I called for his resignation, and today he did do that,” said CLO commissioner Joy Hofmeister Thursday.
Conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and misappropriation of taxpayer funds — just some of the accusations Hofmeister is putting forward against Chambers.
On Wednesday, she asked Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to open a criminal investigation into the CLO’s operations and finance from July 2020 to present.
At Thursday’s CLO meeting, Chambers announced he’s resigning.
“I have an important announcement,” he told the meeting. “When I accepted the governor’s offer to lead this agency, I committed to two years of service. As discussed with the governor on Tuesday, I provided notice of my resignation effective August 3rd, the two year anniversary of my time at agency.”
He then highlighted some of his accomplishments as Secretary.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working on our critical mission with my fellow colleagues at the CLO,” he expressed. “In comparison to last year, in fiscal year 2022, we’ll see a $6.4 million increase in distributions to public education… I’ll always cherish my time working with the amazing CLO team to better opportunities for school children.”
With her request for investigation to the DA, Hofmeister submitted documents provided by the CLO’s former internal auditor.
They express concern about Chambers’ personal relationship with Victorum Capital, which does investment consulting for CLO.
A quote from documents obtained by KFOR asks “if Elliot would make more money on his personal investments with Victorum Capital because of the investments the CLO was making with Victorum.”
The document later states Chambers’ “relationship with Victorum was not disclosed to the commission, the governing body of the CLO.”
Hofmeister not only wants Chambers investigated, but is unsure if the CLO should renew a contract with Victorum.
Thursday, the commissioners voted 3-1 to renew the Victorum contract temporarily for 60 days, with Hofmeister voting in opposition.
“I do have concerns about Victorum,” she said after the meeting. “I have concerns and could not support having an extended contract with with that particular vendor. There’s simply questions that have not yet been answered related to conflict of interests and I would like to have those answers and be fully informed before making a decision on that matter.”
After Chambers resigned, Governor Kevin Stitt thanked him for his service.
“I love to bring people from the private sector to come serve and ask them to step away from private sector careers,” the Governor said. “I know public service is hard and and you’ve done a really, really good job, and I thank you… Hopefully there’ll be a lot more like you that come serve in my administration. And you’re always part of the team and welcome to the locker room. So, thank you. Thank you for your service.”
KFOR asked District Attorney Prater about Hofmeister’s request and he said, “I can only confirm that Joy Hofmeister requested me to investigate the commissioners of the land office.”