Windstream Corp. has been indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges related to a former Oklahoma school superintendent, but the company denies wrongdoing.
Former Broken Arrow Superintendent of Schools Jim Sisney was also indicted in allegations regarding 2007 NCAA Final Four basketball tickets in Atlanta.
“We have always taken great pride in serving our customers with integrity. We have cooperated fully in the investigation and will vigorously contest the charges,” said John Fletcher, Vice-president and general counsel for Windstream.
The indictments outline a series of events in the early months of 2007 where Windstream identified its top sales customers for potential tickets and travel to the NCAA basketball tournament. The indictment against Windstream notes that the Broken Arrow School District was a top sales customer at the time and the Little Rock-based telecom contracted a third party to coordinate its giveaway activities.
Sisney, as superintendent of the Broken Arrow School District, benefited from the trip and amenities although the indictment states his acceptance violated school district policy. Authorities have accused Windstream of offering the trip “with the intention of favorably influencing” Sisney to recommend or approve doing future business between the company and school district.
Windstream no longer services the account, which was contracted earlier this year to Cox Communications.
“Today’s indictments are the result of many months of investigation into practices by a former employee and a vendor of Broken Arrow Public Schools,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a news release. “I’m very grateful for the sacrifice made by multi-county grand jurors as well as the effort of state prosecutors and investigators in the Attorney General’s Office and the State Auditor’s Office in conducting a thorough investigation. It is important that we remain vigilant in holding accountable those entrusted as public servants.”
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