Pruitt’s corruption is long-standing

He’s got a history of sweetheart real estate purchases and loans in Oklahoma, reports the NY Times. This strikes me as unusual. Pruitt was a state senator in 2003, making no more than $38,400 per year. Yet somehow he came up with 25% of the purchase price for a AAA baseball team:

Pruitt, 35, became part-owner of the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A franchise Wednesday when he and partner Bob Funk bought the 76 percent of the team owned by Gaylord Entertainment Co.


The sale price of the RedHawks was not disclosed, but it is believed to have surpassed the minor league record of $11.5 million paid for the Albuquerque Triple-A franchise three years ago. Funk and Pruitt only recently formed The Oklahoma Baseball Club, LLC, which will formally operate the ballclub.

Pruitt, who received his jurist doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 1993 and was elected to office in 1998, is the club’s managing general partner and will be involved in day-to-day operations while continuing his duties as minority whip.

That, however, is not even close to the most questionable deal Pruitt made or got while legislating. Nope. He got a $100,000 discount on a $475,000 home he purchased with friends from a corporate lobbyist (he does seem to get good housing deals from lobbyists — see his $50/night rent from one in DC when he first became EPA Administrator). That 100K loss was picked up by the lobbyist’s employer, SBC/AT&T. Funnily enough, SBC was lobbying the Oklahoma legislature about deregulating its ability to raise rates and to keep a bribery case against it from being reopened. Pruitt voted with the company’s interests on both issues. Here’s his house:

Mr. Pruitt’s home in Oklahoma City when he was a state senator. The house, which had belonged to a lobbyist, was held by a shell company registered to Mr. Pruitt’s business partner and financed by a bank an associate of his ran.
Credit: Brett Deering for The New York Times

His record while in the legislature indicates he engaged in financial ventures that would seem to be beyond his income.

During his eight years as a Republican state senator, Mr. Pruitt also upgraded his family residence in suburban Tulsa from a small ranch-style home to a lakefront property in a gated community. In addition, he bought a sizable stake in a minor league baseball team, and took a second job at Mr. Wagner’s corporate law firm. Mr. Kelly’s bank, SpiritBank, would be there for much of it — providing financing for Mr. Pruitt’s Tulsa home and his stake in the baseball team, as well as the mortgage for the Oklahoma City house.

Mr. Kelly, who was recently banned from the financial industry for banking rule violations, is now at EPA with his friend Mr. Pruitt, administering the Superfund program. How a lifelong banker is qualified to manage the cleanup of environmentally-damaged sites around the country is left to the reader’s imagination.

Pruitt is an ambitious man who appears to be out to feather his nest and live as comfortably as he can, doing so not by dint of hard work but by living off the people’s dime.