It’s pretty well-known by now that the oil oligarchy (the Oilgarchy? coined it, we’re keeping it) can get away with damn near anything in Oklahoma. After all, we’ve had state-mandated prayer sessions to ensure that the crude made of millions-of-years-old dead creatures will pour from the land like a geyser of plenty. So if a local energy man decides to do some fraud, what’s the big deal, eh?
Check out this poorly-reported story from The Oklahoman:
A longtime Oklahoma City oilman known for helping others was fined $100,000 Monday for making a false statement to the FBI.
Let’s just stop right here and look at the first sentence of the article. Before Nolan Clay, a longtime reporter, mentions a provable statement, we are known that the oilman was “known for helping others.” Apparently, helping others meant lying to the FBI about your pals insider trading:
John Kenneth “Ken” Davidson, 68, was sentenced in Oklahoma City federal court for lying in 2018 to an FBI agent investigating insider trading.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot chose the punishment, sparing Davidson from any time in prison. The judge instead put Davidson on probation for two years and ordered him to complete 104 hours of community service.
The judge said he took into consideration the unsung generosity Davidson has shown others. The judge said he was satisfied “this ugly chapter” in Davidson’s life is a fairly isolated chapter.
The judge said, though, he was imposing a substantial fine that was due immediately. “Lying to the FBI must carry some sting,” Friot said.
That sound you just heard was every local oil overlord opening their checkbook to donate to their favorite charity so they’ll get a sweet deal whenever they’re convicted of some white collar’ish crime in the future. It’s nice to see trickle down economics finally work!
The article goes on to describe more of the details of the deal that got Davidson busted, but it also doesn’t include any information about why he was “known for helping others” or his “unsung generosity.” Does he tip $10 to his caddie at Oak Tree? Does he make sure his house cleaners get a nice tin of popcorn at Christmas? What exactly does John Kenneth “Ken” Davidson do to help out other people???
Sadly, after a 5-page-deep Google search (I’m not paid Nolan Clay investigative reporter money), not much came up. Propublica shows that he has a charitable foundation that made $3 between 2013-25. I give more money each month to homeless people needing bus fare. Hell, I bum out like eight bucks worth of cigarettes to strangers at the bar every month. Will that convince a judge not to lock me away if I find myself LYING TO THE FBI?
Anyway, this whole story stinks of a bad judicial system and bad reporting. If Davidson was such a great guy, why is it so difficult to find out what he’s been helpful at? Why is the Oklahoman not doing their due diligence, and instead giving Davidson the benefit of the doubt? And why is our legal system tipped to let rip-off artist old white men get away with whatever they want?
Hopefully, a real reporter will come around and dig up some answers on all of this. Until then, I will continue to be angry about the ‘good ol’ boy’ system, and I’ll be back next week with ‘5 Funny Farts I Heard At City Council.’