NYT: Pruitt purchased home from lobbyist in 2003, using a shell company

EPA chief Scott Pruitt purchased a house in 2003 from a retiring lobbyist through a shell company registered to a bus...

Posted: Apr 22, 2018 11:13 AM
Updated: Apr 22, 2018 11:13 AM

EPA chief Scott Pruitt purchased a house in 2003 from a retiring lobbyist through a shell company registered to a business partner who now holds top political job at the agency The New York Times reported Saturday.

As a state senator in 2003, Pruitt became an owner of an Oklahoma City house held by a shell company registered under the name of a business partner and law school friend, Kenneth Wagner, the Times reported, citing a review of real estate and other public records. Wagner is now a senior adviser for regional and state affairs at the EPA.

The mortgage on the house was issued by a local bank led by another business associate, Albert Kelly, the Times said, citing the records. Kelly is now also one of Pruitt's top aides at the EPA, in charge of its Superfund program.

The purchase price of $375,000 was $100,000 less than what the lobbyist, Marsha Lindsey, had paid just a year earlier -- a difference picked up by her employer, telecom company SBC Oklahoma, the Times reported.

Lindsey turned over the deed to a relocation company SBC hired to handle her move and severance for about what she had paid for the house, which in turn signed the property over to health care executive Jon Jiles, a donor to Pruitt's campaigns, at the discounted price, according to records the Times reviewed. The next month, Jiles transferred the deed to the shell company, Capitol House LLC, for which he was listed as the manager and Wagner the registered agent. A month later, Kelly's bank approved a mortgage in the amount of $420,000 in the name of the shell company.

Real estate records did not show Pruitt's involvement, the Times reported. But an EPA spokeswoman confirmed to the newspaper that Pruitt was one of the five investors in the shell company.

The shell company sold the property a couple of years later for $95,000 more than it paid, the Times reported. Pruitt's financial disclosures in Oklahoma, however, did not mention the shell company or the proceeds, potentially violating the state's ethics rules, the newspaper said. Oklahoma ethics rules require that officials disclose their businesses or entities in which they hold securities valued at $5,000 or more, the Times reported.

The report comes as Pruitt faces scrutiny for a string of ethically questionable arrangements or actions on his part that have surfaced over the past year, including questions about the size and cost of his 24-hour security detail; a $50-a-night room rental agreement he held with a lobbyist whose husband's firm lobbies the EPA.

An EPA spokeswoman told the Times that Pruitt's business arrangements with Kelly and Wagner "were ethical" and his stake in the shell company "a simple real estate investment."

"Mr. Wagner and Mr. Kelly left high-profile positions in law and banking in Oklahoma, to serve in the administration," the spokeswoman said in an email to the Times. "They are dedicated E.P.A. employees who have earned the respect and admiration of E.P.A. career employees across the country."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4185

Reported Deaths: 153
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah114259
Marion94925
Washington73417
Clackamas30611
Deschutes1240
Umatilla1163
Linn1159
Polk9812
Lane693
Yamhill697
Jackson650
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos310
Jefferson300
Douglas270
Wasco231
Josephine231
Hood River160
Columbia160
Lincoln120
Morrow110
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 109895

Reported Deaths: 4144
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles537462339
Riverside7486323
San Diego7385269
Orange6100146
San Bernardino5200204
Alameda328995
Santa Clara2731141
San Francisco253241
Kern214538
San Mateo210484
Tulare184484
Fresno171435
Santa Barbara164912
Imperial163427
Contra Costa142637
Sacramento140056
Ventura107833
San Joaquin85834
Kings7353
Stanislaus69928
Sonoma5484
Solano51722
Monterey50910
Marin45014
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2691
Placer2149
Santa Cruz2122
Yolo21024
Napa1123
Madera1042
Humboldt993
El Dorado900
San Benito872
Del Norte450
Butte440
Sutter432
Nevada411
Shasta374
Mono351
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake210
Inyo201
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Amador100
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Tehama41
Plumas40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Brookings
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 63°
Crater Lake
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 61°
Grants Pass
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 64°
Klamath Falls
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 61°
Few showers Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events