An investigation involving a Ward 2 Tahlequah City Council candidate links him with payroll irregularities that forced his departure from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, though he maintains he did nothing wrong.

Sheriff Jason Chennault and District Attorney Jack Thorp released information this week pursuant to the Tahlequah Daily Press' written Freedom of Information Act request. An arrest was never made, nor were charges filed against Gary Cacy. The name of another deputy was redacted in the report, as the FOIA request pertained solely to Cacy.

According to a 2014 internal investigation report, the CCSO received a traffic safety enforcement grant through the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. The money allowed deputies to work traffic enforcement during off-duty hours to earn extra pay.

"The focus of the grant is arresting drivers who are operating motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants," the report stated. "Deputies are required to keep a running timesheet of their activities, an 'officer activity sheet,' while working the grant."

Deputies were required to average two contacts per hour during their shifts: eight contacts in a four-hour shift, and 16 contacts in an eight-hour shift. Lesa Rousey-Daniel, who was CCSO administrative assistant at the time, scheduled the shifts.

The report indicates Sabrina Mackey, of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, conducted a site visit to the sheriff's office June 20, 2014.

"During the visit, Mackey noticed some irregularities on the overtime activity sheets that had been turned in by [a CCSO deputy] ... ... where the information boxes on the warnings were populated by more than one color of ink," the report stated.

Mackey asked Rousey to check more thoroughly into actions of this deputy and others.

"Rousey's check caused her to be concerned that the rules of working the overtime shifts were not being followed by CCSO deputies, namely [redacted] and Investigator Gray Cacy," the report stated.

Then-Sheriff Norman Fisher, Capt. Bob Sanders, and Jason Chennault, who was undersheriff, met with Cacy.

"[This was] due to Sheriff Fisher's concern that Cacy had falsified some of the activity sheets he turned in for his overtime traffic safety enforcement shifts," stated the report.

After an audit was conducted on activity sheets, officials discovered Cacy reported 355 contacts, with 81 of those verified through CCSO radio logs.

"We compared the contacts reported by each deputy during their shifts to CCSO radio logs that were provided by the Cherokee County 911 Center," stated the report.

Fisher, Rousey, Sanders, and Chennault spoke with Cacy on June 26, 2014.

"Cacy was told the irregularities had been found in his overtime traffic enforcement shift activity sheets, and that many of the contacts he had claimed ... could not be verified by CCSO radio logs," the report states. "Cacy assured us he was definitely on duty during the hours he claimed he worked."

Officials showed Cacy the discrepancies and told him those were believed to be falsified.

"Cacy told us he did not intend to commit fraud by falsifying contacts on his activity sheet," stated the report.

Cacy told the Tahlequah Daily Press this week that the internal investigation included an agreement between him and Fisher wherein he offered his resignation.

"I surrendered my final paycheck as repayment to resolve any issues, and Sheriff Fisher offered to bring me back into the department at a later date," said Cacy. He has not been offered employment again, however.

The TDP was informed in December about the matter involving Cacy, and on Wednesday, Dec. 16, Cacy announced he was withdrawing from the city race in February.

"My character and my reputation were immediately being questioned from day one of the campaign, and I didn't want to go through that," Cacy said. "I didn't think I deserved it, and if I wasn't going to be appreciated for my willingness to come forward to serve the city, I didn't want to proceed."

But Cacy then contacted the TDP Thursday, Dec. 24 to say he planned to continue with his campaign.

"I have received an outpouring of support since my intention to withdraw from the race was announced in the Tahlequah Daily Press," Cacy said. "I have received calls, texts and messages from numerous community leaders, private citizens, and business owners, friends and family that have offered their encouragement and beliefs in my ability, integrity, and willingness to continue to serve the citizens of Tahlequah."

Cacy's name was already on the ballot when he initially said he was dropping out of the race, and it will remain so. The election is Feb. 9.

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