Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fisher Knocks Down Rumor He's Helping Doak: 'I think he's afraid to admit he even knows me'

Insurance Commissioner-elect
John Doak
Even among Republicans who helped elect him, the rumors about who is on Insurance Commissioner-elect John Doak's transition team have been flying and most of them involve his fellow Tulsan, former Commissioner Carroll Fisher.

Some believe with certainty that Fisher, who went to prison after his tenure ended as the result of an investigation into gifts from Texas insurance company magnate Gene Phillips, is advising Doak as he prepares to take over the office now held by Democrat Kim Holland.

But in an interview with The McCarville Report Online, the candid Fisher says that's not true: "I'd love to help him...but I think he's afraid to admit he even knows me."

Fisher, during a court hearing.
Fisher, a Democrat, said he knows his background might make Doak gun shy: "He came to my house one morning...and I...told him...we don't have to meet in public (if Doak wanted his continuing advice but did not want to be publicly associated with him)." Fisher indicated that's the last direct contact he's had with Doak.

Fisher, who now operates a small business (Cable Covers Oklahoma) he formed to market sleeves that hide unsightly television, computer and other cables in homes and businesses, said his knowledge of the Department of Insurance could help Doak avoid pitfalls. He suggested that he, former Commissioner John Crawford, and others, could help Doak. Crawford's tenure in the office ended in controversy and he lost a reelection bid. Fisher succeeded him in office. Crawford ran this year and was defeated by Doak.

Fisher said he would "love to run the Tulsa office for him (Doak)..." but he doesn't expect that to happen.

In his campaign, Doak accepted thousands of dollars in donations from Enid attorney Stephen Jones and his associates; Jones has long been associated with the controversial Phillips, key figure in Fisher's disgrace, and was a major player in the failed 2006 attempt to defeat Holland.

Fisher served a three-year prison sentence for embezzling $1,000 from his campaign and lying on a contributions report. He also was accused of accepting $25,000 and other gifts from Phillips, his family and business associates in exchange for favorable treatment of their insurance companies. Fisher has said the money was a loan. It was the acceptance of the gifts from Phillips that created a firestorm around then-Commissioner Fisher and ultimately resulted in the investigation that toppled him. Phillips was not charged with any wrong-doing.

While Fisher says he's not a member of Doak's transition team, who the members are remains undisclosed. Reliable sources report that among the members are Tulsa attorney John O'Connor; lobbyist Bobby Stem, who represents Phillips' Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Company; Chris Lowther, Doak's campaign manager; and Stephen Jones.

Share |