Oklahoma, like all the states, was forced to make a mad scramble to find PPE in the beginning months of the pandemic.
A Tulsa businessman who owns a piano bar called the Shady Keys was paid millions to get that PPE.
“We are looking for Casey Bradford?” KFOR News said.
The owner of the bar was not there when our news crews knocked on the door of the downtown Tulsa establishment.
According to a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office, on March 23, Tulsa businessman Casey Bradford reportedly approached the State Health Department about buying masks from him. That same day he and others established an LLC called PPE Supplies.
Bradford allegedly promised he could obtain large supplies of masks from China and get them to Oklahoma officials. In the next week, state officials made four orders, paying Bradford up-front over $2 million for what they thought would be over 1.2 million n95 masks.
“There were clearly representations made that he had a supply that was reliable and he was confident in and he was taking steps to personally insure to make sure the supplies were delivered. That didn’t happen,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.
Bradford only ended up delivering 10,000 masks and refunding only $300,000.
“He did give some of the money back, but at the end of the day, he was involved in a transaction that caused the state to lose almost $2 million, and we need to figure out a way to get that money back. We’ve got a responsibility to protect taxpayer dollars,” said Hunter.
We tried to track down Bradford at another Tulsa business he is listed as owner of; we were told he wasn’t there.
We then went to his listed residence in Owasso. We knocked and there was no answer.
We also wanted to know what the vetting process is for these vendors. The Oklahoma State Department of Health is making a multimillion dollar deal with a person that basically created his company the same day. Officials say they are conferring with their legal team and have not officially responded to us.
“I’m not going to backseat drive with regards to the decision that was made to enter into a transaction with the individual. My job is at this point try to get the states money back and hold him accountable,” Hunter said.
Hunter and officials at the State Auditor’s office both say there is an audit currently being conducted of OSDH’s dealings in 2020. No word on when the results will be finished and released.