Former Kay Counties commissioners Tyson Rowe and Dee Schieber were originally scheduled for a hearing in the Payne County Courthouse in Stillwater on Tuesday. However, the hearing has been delayed until March 5. The former commissioners are now facing several charges regarding the mishandling or embezzlement of taxpayer dollars.
Rowe is facing one count of felony racketeering, six counts of felony embezzlement and nine counts of willful violation of law regulating official conduct. Schieber is facing seven counts of willful violation of law regulating official conduct, all misdemeanors. Rowe and Schieber were both charged on March 31, 2017. The charges date back to between 2011 and 2014.
According to the affidavits, both Rowe and Schieber are accused repeatedly abusing the required process of choosing a construction company for county work. Instead of letting companies bid and take the lowest offer, they allegedly ignored the lowest bid or skipped it all together, paying the company that they wanted to do the work. The affidavits states that the company was frequently listed as River Ridge Construction of Newkirk.
The affidavits alleges that this happened 10 times. There is also an alleged instance when River Ridge Construction was paid $516,000 of “unallowed costs” for a job that should have been re-advertised for bidding after the company was paid 19.5 percent more than the original amount of $955,000.
The affidavit also states that over $5,210,616 in funds for public work was allegedly mishandled by Rowe and Schieber. Rowe is also accused of embezzling more than $1.2 million.
The trials for both men were moved to the Payne County Courthouse in Stillwater after Kay County judges recused.