Oklahoma AG turns Epic schools investigation back to DA

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has returned the investigation into Epic Charter Schools to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who initially oversaw the investigation beginning in 2013.

O’Connor said his office has received a report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation into allegations that Epic founders David Chaney and Ben Harris embezzled of millions of dollars.

“I ... have full confidence in the leadership of District Attorney Prater to take it back and conclude this investigation,” O’Connor said in a statement Friday.

Prater told The Oklahoman that he is fully confident in the Attorney General’s office, but that his office should decide whether to file charges.

State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd issued a scathing audit of the virtual school in 2020 alleging widespread mismanagement and overspending on salaries.

The audit came after an affidavit by an OSBI investigator in 2019 alleged Chaney and Harris, split illegal profits of more than $10 million between 2013 and 2018.

No charges have been filed. Chaney and Harris have denied wrongdoing.

Epic has since revamped its board and severed ties with Epic Youth Services, a for-profit management company owned by Chaney and Harris that ran the Epic school system.