Oklahoma Charges Against Windstream Dropped With State Agreement

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 23 views 

An Oklahoma bribery and conspiracy indictment brought in August against Little Rock-based Windstream Corp. has been dismissed.

On Wednesday (Dec. 19), Windstream and the state of Oklahoma entered into an agreement to dismiss the bribery and conspiracy charges.  Windstream will pay $100,000 to the Broken Arrow school foundation as part of the deal.

The charges stemmed from a grand jury investigation in which Windstream was accused of conspiring with a former Oklahoma school superintendent to receive benefits related to an account Windstream previously held.

The August indictments outlined 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 in Atlanta that year. The indictment against Windstream noted 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.

Former Broken Arrow Superintendent of Schools Jim Sisney was also indicted in those allegations.

They claimed Sisney, as superintendent of the Broken Arrow School District, benefited from the trip and amenities although the indictment stated his acceptance violated school district policy. Authorities had 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 denied the allegations at the time and maintained no wrongdoing in today’s agreement. Windstream said reaching a compromise was “acceptable.”

“As part of the agreement, Windstream pledged to take certain steps affirming its commitment to full compliance with all federal, state and local laws,” it said in a release.

“We are pleased to reach an agreement with the state of Oklahoma to dismiss these charges,” said John Fletcher, executive vice president and general counsel for Windstream. “We have denied the charges from the beginning and cooperated fully with the investigation. As always, our focus remains on conducting our business with integrity.”