Special to Grove Sun
JAY - The mayor extorted money from property owners and stole more than $20,000 from city coffers, a police report released Friday alleges. Wayne Dunham was the center of a seven-month investigation by the Jay Police Department and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Dunham could not be reached for comment Friday. Phil Thompson, the city's attorney, would not comment on the allegations. Dunham has not been charged. Mayes County Assistant District Attorney Chuck Ramsey said he expects to file charges within two to three weeks. Ramsey was appointed a special prosecutor after Delaware County District Attorney Eddie Wyant recused himself. Dunham, who was a finalist for the 2009 Oklahoma Mayor of the Year award, allegedly "extorted money through a lawn care service he operated and gave false mileage and was paid an inflated check," according to the police report. The mayor is accused of "extorting money from absentee Jay property owners" by calling them to tell them the city was receiving complaints about their yards, the report states. Dunham would tell the out-of-town property owners that if their yards were not taken care of the police would issue them a citation. He would then offer to cut their grass for a fee, the police report alleges. No complaints about any homeowner's lawn were ever received in the city's offices, the report states. Dunham also is accused of claiming mileage reimbursements from $1,500 to $1,700 a month and taking advances on city credit cards from $100 to $900 a month. Some of the unauthorized charges were for women's clothing, household furnishings, food, Christmas presents and motel rooms, according to the report. Jay City Clerk Teresa Smith-Gross told police that Dunham "was able to get away with" the alleged crimes because she did not perform her duties. The report states that "by going along with, and covering up, what Mayor Dunham was doing," Smith-Gross assisted Dunham "in hiding illegal activity from the" City Council and residents. Smith-Gross was not in the office Friday and does not have a listed Jay telephone number. Authorities were alerted to the missing money after $100 came up missing twice from city utility department deposits, the report states.