The Edmond Sun

Local News

June 20, 2012

Panel indicts restaurant owner in DA-related case

EDMOND — An Oklahoma City restaurant owner pled not guilty Wednesday to perjury charges related to a case that involved the Oklahoma County district attorney and a campaign victory party.

A district judge unsealed the indictment against Wade Mock Starr, owner and proprietor of Deep Fork Grill, Cafe Nova and various other restaurants. Starr, who faces three counts of perjury, entered the plea in court. He did not speak to reporters on his way out of the building.

In his affidavit, Starr stated that a campaign victory party was held at Cafe Nova or Deep Fork Grill to celebrate and raise money for District Attorney David Prater. A grand jury report stated the party was at Cafe Nova on Nov. 20, 2006.

Initial allegations against Prater were made via a letter from a local attorney addressed to Robert Hudson, first assistant attorney general, in February 2011.

The accuser, identified in the grand jury report as “Attorney A,” alleged the event at the restaurant was a fundraiser, and the DA approached several party-goers asking for help to pay for it, according to the grand jury report.

“Attorney A” alleged Lewis B. Moon, who had previously donated $5,000, used a credit card to pay the bill — $12,729 — in violation of the state law that makes it a felony to receive or give in excess of the $5,000 limit on campaign contributions, according to the grand jury’s report.

Also included in the letter’s enclosures was an “invoice” from Deep Fork Grill dated Nov. 20, 2006, giving the name “David Prater” as “customer” for an “Inaugural Reception” costing $12,729 with the notation of “Check” as to “Payment Details.”

During questioning in front of the grand jury, Starr admitted he did not know who actually paid for the victory party, according to count 1 of the indictment.

In count 2, the grand jurors allege Starr testified that a man named “Joe” came by one of his restaurants and he signed an affidavit, when in fact the defendant signed it in front of a law office part time staff member.

Starr testified to his long acquaintance with “Attorney B” and the grand jury did not believe Starr would mistake “Attorney B’s” part-time staff member for “Attorney B,” according to the grand jury report.

In count 3, Starr was a witness before the grand jury on May 16 and testified that L.B. Moon arranged for the election night party at Deep Fork, according to the indictment.

Starr testified Moon contacted him about hosting the party, according to the indictment. When asked who paid for it, Starr said, “I’m not positive, sir, but I believe — I thought L.B. Moon paid for it.” In fact, Moon did not arrange, hold or pay for the victory party at Deep Fork Grill, according to the indictment.

“Attorney A” did attend the party and he made a $1,000 campaign contribution to Prater, the grand jury concluded. Jurors stated in the report that “the allegations contained in the complaint summary supplied by Attorney A did not match the facts appearing on the face of the supplied ‘Invoice,’ nor were these discrepancies explained.”

Grand jurors concluded the party was arranged and planned by the wife of an attorney with the law firm Ogle and Welch, that she was assisted by Prater’s wife and that Moon did not pay for it.

They concluded “there is a complete lack of credible evidence that any of the actual sponsors of the party ‘conspired’ with David Prater or any other person for Mr. Prater to not report their sponsorships of the party to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.”

They admonished “Attorney A,” identified in the grand jury report as a former police officer and former prosecutor, for his lack of judgment in making such serious allegations.

The grand jury is scheduled to reconvene July 17.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

 

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