Friday, October 24, 2008

Red Dirt Gets Dirt On Roth

By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: October 24, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY – Questions regarding an alleged 17-year-old forged document on the part of Republican Corporation Commissioner candidate Dana Murphy, brought up by the campaign for incumbent Democrat Jim Roth, were answered this week by Murphy at a press conference at the State Capitol and reported here at Red Dirt Report.

Murphy explained that the document, for a portion of control of an oil well, was signed by her but in the name of her father-in-law. Murphy admitted signing the document in her father-in-law’s name but that that was acceptable in her family – prior to her contentious divorce. That information came up in the divorce and is now – nearly two decades later – being brought up as a smear tactic against Murphy by the Roth campaign.

This morning, Red Dirt Report was provided with a copy of an arrest report from Dec. 17, 1995 that explains how James Anthony “Jim” Roth, a week before his 27th birthday, rear-ended a vehicle at 39th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Oklahoma City’s “NW 39th Entertainment District” at 2:21 AM. Roth was arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and following too closely.

Sure, it’s old news and has been gone over several times. But it’s still a legitimate issue if the Roth campaign is going to bring up a private matter connected to their opponent, Dana Murphy.

According to the report, Roth was the driver and told the officer who arrived that he was at fault because he did not see the other vehicle. According to the report, the officer immediately “could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath.” The arresting officer also noticed that Roth “exhibited red watery eyes and was unsteady on his feet.”

After giving Roth a sobriety test, which Roth had difficulty performing, Roth rejected the officer’s request that he perform an “implied consent test.” Roth was then formally arrested and placed in the patrol car and a white Jeep Roth was driving was impounded. The passenger, the late Joe Mark Elkouri, then 45 and a Special Judge for the City of Oklahoma City, said to the officer, according to the report: “There must be something I can do to make you forget this happened.”

The officer stated there was nothing that he could do and that Roth was under arrest. Elkouri, according to the report, repeated that he was a special judge and that Roth should not be arrested. The officer contacted his supervisor and he arrived at the scene. Elkouri was transported home by a friend and Roth was booked into the City Jail.

The St. Louis, Mo.-based Oklahoma Political News Service – – reported on this incident back in May and noted that the resolution of the arrest was “a mystery.” Is this on Roth’s record, or did he receive special treatment, since he was an employee of Oklahoma County as legal counsel for the County Commissioner.

Additionally, a source told Red Dirt Report that during the filming of this Sunday’s “Flash Point” news program on News Channel 4, Roth and Murphy appeared and the issue of Murphy’s alleged forgery – which she said she was never charged or convicted of during this week’s press conference – was brought up by Roth. Murphy, Red Dirt Report was told, answered the question and then Murphy, seeing that personal things from their past were fair game, asked Roth about the DUI arrest. She also inquired about Roth reportedly distributing campaign material on state property and a Corporation Commission aid working on his campaign, which is against state law. It was said that Roth ignored and did not answer Murphy’s question.

The source rhetorically asked Red Dirt Report if there are issues in Roth’s past that he needs to answer.

So, Red Dirt Report called Jimmy Durant, Roth’s campaign manager to get some answers to questions that have not been substantively answered.

When Durant was asked what percentage of campaign funds were coming from out-of-state, Durant tersely replied, “I don’t know the answer to that,” and then said “The Ethics Commission will have that on Monday, so why don’t you go look it up yourself.”

It should be noted that the Roth campaign – and specifically Roth himself – has been reluctant to answer this question. A seemingly insignificant campaign in Oklahoma is attracting a lot of attention from folks out-of-state. The question is – why?

Next, Red Dirt Report inquired about the aforementioned information regarding Roth’s arrest. Durant’s attitude quickly changed and became particularly defensive. He said “it’s a matter of public record.”

That’s true. When asked if he pled guilty to the charge, Durant ignored it and said “he paid a fine” and that he’s been honest about his past.

“This happened when he was 25,” exclaimed Durant.

When he was corrected about his age, that Roth was a week from turning 27 at the time of the arrest, Durant said hatefully, “Well I’m 47 going on 48. What the hell?”

As Red Dirt Report attempted to ask another question about Roth and the “Flash Point” debate, Durant said “Good-bye” and rudely hung up on this reporter.

So, what does Jim Roth have to hide?

Copyright 2008 West Marie Media

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