New Recording: Oklahoma County Officials Discussed Sexual Favors

April 20, 2023

A recording that appears to implicate county officials in Oklahoma for discussing murder plots also revealed on Wednesday that those same officials discussed trading sexual favors for pay increases.

Already McCurtain county commissioner Mark Jennings has resigned, following calls from Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) that he and three others on the tape do so.

Jennings, along with McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, sheriff’s investigator Alicia Manning and jail administrator Larry Hendrix, was caught on a tape secretly recorded by journalists for the The McCurtain Gazette-News. 

The Gazette-News had previously released a portion of the recording, made on March 6. On Wednesday the paper released the full audio.

Among the details outlined in the paper was a reference to a “physical affair” between Manning and the former County Chair Jimmy Westbrook. Manning appears to imply she exchanged sexual favors to get pay raises for the county sheriff’s office.

“With all that s— going on with the paper? I said y’all better watch it, ’cause I’m fixing to tell Willingham that I’ve been under the damn table with Westbrook, that’s how we got them pay raises and stuff. You wanna talk s— about me and [Sheriff Kevin] Clardy? We’re fixing to start some s— about me and Westbrook,” Manning can be heard saying on the recording.

That revelation came after the Gazette-News released a portion of the recording that appeared to capture Jennings complaining about two of the paper’s journalists—father and son Bruce and Chris Willingham—while referencing “hit men” and the location of two already-dug holes in the ground. 

In the recording, Jennings tells Clardy and Manning, “I know where two deep holes are dug if you ever need them,” to which the sheriff responded, “I’ve got an excavator.”

Jennings also said he’s known “two or three hit men” in Louisiana.

Jennings further appears to complain about no longer being able to hang Black people. “They got more rights than we got,” he says.

statement Monday by the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office said there was an “ongoing investigation into multiple significant violations” of the Oklahoma Security of Communications Act, which makes it “illegal to secretly record a conversation in which you are not involved and do not have the consent of at least one of the involved parties.” 

“I talked on two different occasions to our attorneys to make sure I wasn’t doing anything illegal,” Bruce Willingham has stated.

He said he left a voice-activated recorder inside the room after a county commissioner’s meeting on March 6 because he suspected the group was continuing to conduct county business after the meeting had ended in violation of the state’s Open Meeting Act.

McCurtain County Courthouse PHOTO Source: Michael Barera  

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