December 4, 2023


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The Frontier: Head of Tourism resigns and the state sues over Foggy Bottom Kitchen scandal | News

The head of the Oklahoma Division of Tourism and Recreation has stepped down and the state has filed a lawsuit in opposition to the operator of Swadley’s Foggy Base Kitchen area restaurants amid a escalating scandal around questionable spending. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt, flanked by Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Tourism Matt Pinnell, declared the resignation of Tourism Director Jerry Winchester and the lawsuit throughout a temporary media visual appeal at the Oklahoma Capitol on Friday. 

The Frontier initial reported on Foggy Bottom’s deal with the point out that reimbursed the restaurant corporation for its losses. One point out lawmaker later identified as the arrangement a “sweetheart deal.” The Frontier also initial noted Foggy Base billed the Tourism Division more service fees and inflated prices for cafe products. 

The Tourism Department’s two-site lawsuit submitted Friday afternoon in Oklahoma County District Court docket does not accuse Foggy Base of any financial wrongdoing, but promises the business did not honor a “duty and obligation” to allow the condition inspect its economical statements annually. 

“As a result of (Foggy Bottom) recognizing, reckless and willful refusal to comply with its obligations and to offer an accounting, (the state) has been harmed,” the lawsuit claims. 

In a assertion, the restaurant corporation mentioned it was “proud of the work” it has performed at state parks and is “heartbroken for the hundreds of workforce whose livelihoods are directly impacted” by the abrupt closure of eating places before this 7 days. 

Stitt and Pinnell did not just take questions next the announcement citing the ongoing investigations and litigation.

Stitt claimed Pinnell would be using “an even additional included part in the Office of Tourism.”

“It’s important that we get to the base of this problem,” Stitt stated. “(Pinnell) will make confident the company is effectively managed and is having all the required actions to handle fast troubles with vendors and staff.”

Winchester mentioned in his resignation letter he felt it was “necessary to resign as executive director” of the Tourism Department straight away. 

“I am confident that the current audits will expose that the section has been performing in the most effective passions of the state and we will entirely cooperate to assure a swift resolution,” he wrote.

Winchester did not return quite a few requests for remark next the announcement.