Ruling due in Gilkey case by late May
Judicial rulings are expected late next month in the Osage County District Court case against a former Pawhuska coach who is charged with embezzlement in connection with operation of a fireworks stand on behalf of the high school football program.
Scotty Ray Gilkey, 39, is charged with misappropriating sale proceeds from a Fourth of July fireworks stand which the coach’s family operated in the summer of 2012, about a month after Gilkey was hired as the head football coach at Pawhuska High School.
A 1993 Pawhuska High graduate, Gilkey was suspended as coach in November 2012, less than six months after his hiring and only days before the Huskies were to play in a state playoffs’ game. Following a criminal investigation by the Osage County Sheriff’s Department, Gilkey was charged in March 2013 with one count of felony embezzlement and a seven- count misdemeanor in which his wife, Jennifer, is listed as a co-defendant.
Testimony concluded Thursday in Gilkey’s preliminary hearing on the felony charge. Osage County Special Judge Stuart Tate then declared the hearing in recess until May 30 when he is expected to rule as to whether or not Gilkey will be held for trial. The judge is also considering a defense motion for dismissal based on jurisdictional matters related to the location of the fireworks stand.
Gilkey attorney Aletia Timmons contended that the case should not have been filed in state court because the defendant is a member of the Pawnee tribe and the alleged crime would have taken place on federally-restricted Indian land. Tate took the jurisdictional issue under advisement late last year after hearing testimony and receiving legal brief arguments from both sides.
The preliminary hearing began March 17 with testimony by a pair of Pawhuska Public Schools officials. A third witness who testified Thursday was Jon Marie Wilson, president of the Pawhuska Quarterback Club, a private organization that assists the PHS football program.
Based on information given at a June meeting of the Quarterback Club, Wilson said she expected proceeds from the fireworks stand to be given back to the school for the benefit of the football team. She said she was not told “that he (Gilkey) was to benefit in any way.”
Wilson said no revenue from the stand was ever received by the Quarterback Club. School records indicated that a check Wilson had written for a private purchase of fireworks was deposited in a personal account of the Gilkeys, she said.
Fraudulent appropriation of approximately $2,500 is alleged in the felony charge against Gilkey.
In earlier testimony, Pawhuska school superintendent Dr. Landon Berry said he had suspended Gilkey as coach because of issues related to the fireworks stand monies. Berry, who became superintendent after Gilkey was hired, said the fireworks stand was no longer in operation when he took over. He said he did not believe the project had been approved by any school officials.
Former assistant football coach Ray Ratzlaff said discussions he had with Gilkey led him to believe that the proceeds derived from the f ireworks sales would go directly to the school football program. He said Gilkey had fired him from his coaching duties due to disagreements related to the fireworks stand controversy.
It was revealed recently that, due to a “clerical error,” court records following the March hearing had incorrectly stated that Gilkey’s appearance bond had been exonerated. In fact, Gilkey is still free on a $2,500 bond on the felony charge and both Gilkeys have $1,500 bonds in the misde meanor case.