Gov. Kevin Stitt ran for office on his business acumen and background in building a national mortgage company. His recently filed financial disclosure forms provide a glimpse at how Stitt has invested some of his wealth.
The forms, which are required of all state elected officials but are typically little more than box-checking, reveal for the first time Stitt’s varied holdings in real estate, energy and banking across multiple states.
Stitt, who has asked Attorney General Mike Hunter to review his plan to separate from his business interests while governor, disclosed 30 different companies or investments in a February filing with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. Among the entities were commercial and industrial office buildings in Dallas and Denver, a bank holding company in Pryor and various stock and real estate investment funds. Other companies held planes and vacation rental homes on the Florida coast.
The personal financial disclosure is the most detailed look at the Stitt family’s investments since the founder of Gateway Mortgage Group LLC announced his campaign for governor in 2017. Stitt raised more than $10.4 million for his gubernatorial campaign, including $4.9 million in personal loans.
Stitt’s transition team sent his business transition plan to Hunter in early January. Hunter’s office continues to review the plan, said Alex Gerszewski, the attorney general’s spokesman. Since then, federal banking regulators have approved Gateway Mortgage’s merger with Farmers Exchange Bank of Cherokee. The new company is called Gateway First Bank.
Because the governor appoints the banking commissioner and state banking board, annual bank examinations of Gateway First Bank will be led by federal bank regulators. Normally, state and federal regulators switch the lead role each year on bank examinations. State banking board members serve staggered, four-year terms, and Stitt will have a chance to appoint or reappoint three members in his first term.
“The governor has gone above and beyond current requirements for financial disclosures, and he is committed to continued transparency to ensure there is not a conflict of interest in his role serving the state and its 4 million citizens,” Stitt spokeswoman Donelle Harder said in a statement.
Stitt’s 18-page financial filing also includes the companies and investments of his wife, Sarah, and each of their six children, although they are not named. Instead, the disclosures use the term “filer,” “spouse” or “dependent” to refer to anyone with a “material financial interest,” which includes any ownership stake or dividends or income exceeding $20,000.
State ethics rules don’t require officeholders to list the amounts of assets or investments on financial disclosure forms. The means the filing doesn’t give any insight into the Stitt family’s income from the entities or the size of the investments. (The Stitt campaign declined a request from Oklahoma Watch last summer to release Stitt’s income tax returns. His Democratic opponent, Drew Edmondson, released two years of state and federal tax returns.)
The filing includes a reference to the Stitt Charitable Foundation. The private foundation donated more than $481,000 to various religious groups and schools in 2016, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service. Its largest single donation, $326,400, was to the Stitts’ church, Woodlake Church in Tulsa. The foundation donated a total of $132,000 in 2017 and $131,000 in 2015, according to IRS records.
Among the highlights of Stitt’s financial disclosure filing:
• All eight members of the Stitt family are listed on 27 of the companies or investments. Kevin and Sarah Stitt are also listed for the Stitt Charitable Foundation. Kevin Stitt is listed as the sole beneficiary of Stitt Enterprises Inc., which is described as “asset and investment management.” He is also the sole beneficiary of Blue Funding Inc., which manages vacation rentals on the Florida coast owned by John Adams LP, another company listed on the disclosure form.
• Several companies are tied to Atcap Partners, a Dallas-based commercial and industrial real estate firm. They include Atlas Denver Industrial, Atlas Gramercy Partners and Atlas Office 161. One of Atcap Partners’ managers, Brad Hannagan, went to Oklahoma State University with Stitt. (Hannagan also contributed the maximum amount, $8,100, to Stitt’s campaign in the primary, runoff and general elections, campaign finance reports show.)
• Skylink Resources LLC was listed as the owner of two planes, a 1995 Cessna 560 and a 2010 Cirrus Design SR-22T, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Stitt, a licensed pilot, said in January he hadn’t flown his own plane since just after the November election. “I’ve got a little single-engine Cirrus, but plan on selling that now that I’m governor,” Stitt said. Harder said the Cessna has since been sold and the Cirrus is under contract.
• National Insurance Co. is a captive insurance firm set up to self-insure Gateway Mortgage Group. It was regulated by the state Insurance Department, but Harder said there’s no conflict of interest because it’s not taking any more premiums and is being liquidated.
• First Pryor Bancorp. is a bank holding company for First Pryority Bank, which has branches in Pryor and Tulsa. Harder said Stitt has owned a small share, less than one percent, in the company for more than a decade and is not a board member. “As outlined in the separation plan, the independence of the Oklahoma State Banking Department provides an appropriate check in this instance, and there are no additional conflict-of-interest issues,” Harder said.
• One investment is in the hedge fund Amalfi Fund LP, which is managed by Oklahoma City-based Caption Partners. That company’s co-founder is Jason Strasser, a former Wall Street derivatives trader who made the jump to professional online poker player. The Amalfi Fund had 16 investors in its initial $3.9 million investment offering in August, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The Ethics Commission used to require personal financial disclosures for candidates for state and legislative offices, but stopped that requirement in 2016. Now, newly elected officeholders are supposed to file the disclosure within 30 days of taking office. After that, they are supposed to file annual disclosures. Oklahoma is one of 18 states that doesn’t require financial disclosure statements from candidates.