OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma State Attorney General dropped the state’s lawsuit against ClassWallet, the company from Florida that helped distribute GEER funds.
The lawsuit was filed last August by former AG John O’Connor.
In a news release, Gentner Drummond said the lawsuit was “almost wholly without merit.”
“It is accusing Class Wall of actions that in fact, was not its responsibility or the scope of its work,” said Drummond, to News4 at his office Tuesday. “Oklahoma elected to put no parameters on that portal.”
The current AG also said the state had 180 days to serve the lawsuit to the company. Tuesday was the final day.
Last summer, the US Department of Education Office of Inspector General published a report stating that $31 million out of $39 million allocated to the state was spent without documents proving that it was spent correctly.
Specifically, it found $650,000 was misspent on items like TVs, smartwatches, and Christmas trees.
“It was a free for all Wild West party for parents who chose to exploit the governor’s emergency education fund,” said Drummond.
The money was supposed to go towards educational purchases.
The US Department of Education is asking for a refund of $650,000.
GEER funds were given to Governor Kevin Stitt for him to disperse for educational needs during the COVID pandemic.
One of the programs created to help distribute the money was called Bridge the Gap. ClassWallet assisted in that program.
The federal report noted that Ryan Walters, current State Superintendent of Public Instruction, helped conceptualize the contract between ClassWallet and the state. At the time he was running an educational nonprofit.
Drummond was specific on who held responsibility.
“It is clear that a number of state actors and other individuals are ultimately responsible for millions in misspent federal relief dollars,” said the new AG, in his press release.
When O’Connor filed the lawsuit, Governor Stitt supported the decision.
“The governor’s office strongly disagrees with the decision to dismiss the state’s legitimate effort to recover federal taxpayer dollars from a bad out-of-state vendor,” said Kate Vesper, Governor Stitt’s spokesperson.
Along with the federal audit, Cindy Byrd, Oklahoma State Auditor, is writing her own report.
Drummond said it will be out sometime between March and July.
“More likely than not, it will show that the state absolutely failed in putting parameters around the expenditure of those funds in the hands of third parties,” said Drummond, in his office Tuesday.
The AG’s office is not done with this case. It will investigate whether any laws were broken with the misuse of taxpayer dollars.
“That’s just the subject matter of an ongoing investigation,” said the attorney general. “And whether there’s criminal acts or civil law violations has yet to be determined.”