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Swadley’s Bar-B-Q owner, two others indicted on criminal fraud, conspiracy charges

Swadley's Bar-B-Q

Three people face criminal charges over alleged fraud at barbecue restaurants in Oklahoma state parks. A grand jury indicted the owner of Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen and two other people, according to Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s office.

In March 2020, Swadley’s landed a cushy contract with Oklahoma’s Tourism and Recreation Department, using taxpayer money to remodel and manage six restaurants in state parks under the Foggy Bottom Kitchen brand.

About a year and a half into that contract, a whistleblower told state authorities Swadley’s had been cooking its books so it could overcharge the state.

Now, a grand jury is sending Brent Swadley, Curtis Ray Breuklander and Timothy Raymond Hooper to trial on one count of felony conspiracy and five counts of felony fraud.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s office accuses Swadley’s of maintaining two sets of invoices during its three-year state park contract. The one they submitted to the state had inflated equipment costs, like two used barbecue smokers with a 30% markup.

“The indictments issued today contain serious charges and will be prosecuted by my office on behalf of the People of Oklahoma,” Drummond said in a statement. The statement also emphasized that the men are innocent until proven guilty.

In addition to the criminal charges, there’s also a civil suit and countersuit between the state and Swadley’s. The restaurant recently filed a motion increasing the amount of money it says the state owes it for operations and renovations.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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