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Oklahoma legislator accepts settlement in lawsuit against "Dr. Dirt"

The legislator has always suspected the president of The Wind Coalition, a trade organization. McBride has been an outspoken critic of the wind industry and has called for wind farms in Oklahoma to pay more in taxes. The Wind Coalition president, Jeff Clark, has denied any involvement in the tracking.

A state legislator has accepted a financial settlement in his second lawsuit over the placement of a tracking device on his pickup.

Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, declined to comment on the resolution of his case against a political consultant with the colorful nickname "Dr. Dirt."

McBride in March sued Texas political consultant George C. Shipley in Oklahoma City federal court. He dismissed the invasion of privacy lawsuit Dec. 12 after reaching the confidential settlement.

Shipley hired the private investigators who tracked McBride in 2017. He instructed them to get photos of the married legislator if they caught him "partying around" with any girlfriends.

"I appreciate this very much and good hunting, good hunting," Shipley said in a Nov. 13, 2017, phone conversation that was recorded by the investigators.

Shipley, 71, has a long history in politics in his state. "Back when Democrats dominated in Texas, he ... received the nickname, 'Dr. Dirt,' for his notorious ability to stir the mud that soiled his clients' opponents," the legislator's attorney, Kevin Donelson, wrote in one legal pleading.

Shipley denied wrongdoing and argued McBride did not suffer "any... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A state legislator has accepted a financial settlement in his second lawsuit over the placement of a tracking device on his pickup.

Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, declined to comment on the resolution of his case against a political consultant with the colorful nickname "Dr. Dirt."

McBride in March sued Texas political consultant George C. Shipley in Oklahoma City federal court. He dismissed the invasion of privacy lawsuit Dec. 12 after reaching the confidential settlement.

Shipley hired the private investigators who tracked McBride in 2017. He instructed them to get photos of the married legislator if they caught him "partying around" with any girlfriends.

"I appreciate this very much and good hunting, good hunting," Shipley said in a Nov. 13, 2017, phone conversation that was recorded by the investigators.

Shipley, 71, has a long history in politics in his state. "Back when Democrats dominated in Texas, he ... received the nickname, 'Dr. Dirt,' for his notorious ability to stir the mud that soiled his clients' opponents," the legislator's attorney, Kevin Donelson, wrote in one legal pleading.

Shipley denied wrongdoing and argued McBride did not suffer "any damages whatsoever." Asked about the settlement, the political consultant's attorney, Dan Webber, told The Oklahoman, "All we would say is the matter is resolved and the resolution is confidential."

McBride found the GPS tracker on his pickup the evening of Dec. 4, 2017, after being warned that people may be following him. It had been there six days.

McBride in January sued the private investigators in Oklahoma County District Court. He dismissed his claims against Eastridge Investigations and Asset Protection in March after accepting a financial settlement. The PI firm has an address in Tuttle.

The conclusion of the cases leaves unanswered who retained the political consultant to look into McBride. The legislator has always suspected the president of The Wind Coalition, a trade organization.

McBride has been an outspoken critic of the wind industry and has called for wind farms in Oklahoma to pay more in taxes. The Wind Coalition president, Jeff Clark, has denied any involvement in the tracking.

The discovery of the tracker sparked new legislation, a criminal investigation and some resentment toward the wind industry at the Capitol.

The new legislation makes covert use of a tracker a stalking crime.

Stalking in Oklahoma involves "willfully, maliciously and repeatedly" following or harassing another person. The offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

The new law clarifies that illegally following someone can include tracking the person, without consent, through the use of a monitoring device.

The criminal investigation fizzled after a judge in Travis County, Texas, refused in June to order Shipley and Clark to appear before Oklahoma's multicounty grand jury. The Travis County judge was involved because both live in Austin.

The grand jury wanted to hear from Shipley and Clark about phone calls between the two.

Shipley and Clark spoke Nov. 13, 2017, the day the private investigators were paid $5,000 to begin, subpoenaed phone records indicate. They also spoke the morning of Dec. 6, 2017, the day after the private investigators found out the tracking device had been discovered.

McBride, 57, was re-elected to a fourth term in November.

The PI firm lost business because of the publicity and was sued again in July over its surveillance of a Cushing man.


Source: https://newsok.com/article/...

DEC 30 2018
http://www.windaction.org/posts/49460-oklahoma-legislator-accepts-settlement-in-lawsuit-against-dr-dirt
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