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State pulls plug on Swadley’s Foggy Bottom contract!

Put a fork into Swadley's Foggy Bottom Kitchen. It's officially done.

Just weeks after Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell said the contract would be revised, the Oklahoma Tourism Department announced today they're changing course and following our advice to terminate the state's contract with Swadley's Foggy Bottom Kitchen due to "suspected fraudulent activity found through highly questionable billing, invoicing, and record-keeping practices."

Editor's Note: View all of TLO's Swadley's Foggy Bottom Kitchen coverage here. 

Here's the letter that State Tourism Director Jerry Winchester sent to his old pal Brent Swadley informing him of the news.

Ouch. You know it hurt Winchester to write that before he (likely) resigns as Director of Tourism – and hires a lawyer – for enabling this grift to happen under his watch. Not only did he have to shut down his good buddy's restaurant, but it also puts an end to the 10 out of 10 Winchester Burger that Stitt's Communications Bro loved so much!

I approve of the state's decision to listen to us for once and kick Swadley's Foggy Bottom Kitchen to the dumpster, but couldn't they have waited until Louis was back in full health so he could have reviewed it first?! Oh well, I'll guess we'll have to wait for some other chain with "brand power" to swoop in and get its grift on.

Anyway, I wouldn't expect the smoke to stop flowing from this Swadley's Foggy Bottom story anytime soon. The fact that Stitt's Administration – the same one that openly courts, encourages, and enables government grifters – terminated the contract should be the first sign of how blatantly bad and deep this one goes.

In fact, Oklahoma County DA David Prater now claims the state has paid $4.5-million in "excessive payments" to Swadley's.

$4.5-million is a lot of money, and if accurate, could help explain how Brent Swadley has been able to make so many costly improvements to his giant "Swadley Ranch" located near Piedmont Rd. and NW Expressway!

Check out this correspondence from an Ogle Mole:

[sic] I hope someone has directed you to take a drive past the newly improved Swadley’s “Ranch.” In the last year and a half or so, we’ve watched him lay a 1/4 mile CONCRETE drive way (not asphalt) and do what appears to be at least another million dollars or more of improvements to the place he recently acquired."

I asked another Ogle Mole – who may also be The Oklahoman's whistleblower who spilled the smokey BBQ beans on this story – about Swadley's "Ranch." He claimed that Swadley has "sucked a lot of money" out of his restaurants to acquire and improve the ranch, which he believes totaled over 80 acres.

Now, I'm not a forensic accountant or property lawyer, but if Swadley used money that the state claims may have come "through fraudulent activity" to fund improvements at his ranch, I guess that means... well... I'm honestly not sure what it means. Either way, if the state hasn't looked already, they may want to poke around the wood chips to see if any of the contractors who worked on the Swadley Ranch also did work on Swadley's Foggy Bottom Kitchens. Just like a Swadley's dining room, you never know what's hiding under the table.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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