Former Owasso city manager Rodney Ray charged lunches to city, later reimburses some of the money

In September, the 2NEWS Investigators discovered receipts that showed some city managers around Green Country had spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on lunches.

We pored over the city credit card bills for the first six months of 2013 for city managers in Broken Arrow, Owasso, Tulsa, Bixby and Jenks.

RELATED STORY 9-24-13: City Managers spend thousands on lunches (http://bit.ly/1f1yZmo)

Following that story, we received emails and calls from residents asking us to look into the city manager positions where they live.

One of those residents asked us look further into the expenses of Owasso's former city manager, Rodney Ray.

Ray spent $2,000 of taxpayer money on meals in five months.

However, a viewer sent us an e-mail saying Ray reimbursed the city for his lunches. We found Ray did reimburse the city almost $400 for his meals.

A city spokesperson said the remaining $1,600 that Ray spent at restaurants were likely for other people's meals, like city councilors, or potential developers.

Owasso body shop owner Tim Miller attributes some of his business's success to a growing city. He says attracting new businesses is one of the main jobs of a city manager. From a business owner and taxpayer perspective, Miller says he doesn't mind the lunch expenses.

"If Rodney did reimburse the city for expenses he felt like the city shouldn't pay for, then yeah, I think that's honest, and I think that shows integrity," said Miller.

A Sapulpa resident also contacted the 2NEWS Investigators and asked that we look into his city manager's contract.

The 2NEWS Investigators obtained the contract for Thomas DeArman, the Sapulpa city manager. He makes $115,000 a year.

He also receives $6,000 a year for a car allowance. Plus, the city will provide up to $15,800 a year for retirement.

As for Owasso, Ray is no longer the city manager.

He resigned in June amid allegations of writing a bogus check. He's now the subject of a grand jury investigation regarding other issues and could face criminal charges.

While some are upset with Ray, Miller just wants to get past it.

"As a community we need to move on," said Miller.

If there's something you'd like us to look into, send us an e-mail at investigators@kjrh.com .

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