False Claim: A so-called “secret plan” is in the works to change the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion.
Fact Check: Prior to Governor Stitt, the OKC philanthropic community began putting together a plan to build a family residence near the Governor’s Mansion, a 100-year-old historical facility for public use and hosting.
Every Oklahoma governor leaves a legacy gift for the Mansion grounds upon the conclusion of their time in office, and the Stitts agreed to take on this vision project and begin the process to raise private donations to fund it. In early 2020, when the pandemic arrived, the Stitts put the fundraising efforts on pause for their legacy gift. It has been nearly 3 years, and the Stitts have not resumed the fundraising effort. While they will maintain the tradition of leaving behind a gift for the Governor’s Mansion grounds, there is no family residence underway nor has the 2019 fundraising campaign resumed.
KFOR-TV, after making record profits this year thanks to dark money groups buying an unprecedented amount of air-time to spread lies and misinformation, ran a hit piece littered with unfounded allegations about the future of the State of Oklahoma’s Governor’s Mansion.
The Oklahoman set the record straight on KFOR-TV and conducted interviews with parties affiliated with Friends of the Mansion. Here is the truth as outlined by the Oklahoman:
- The discussions have not been a secret, as both News 9 and the Tulsa World reported on various plans for the mansion grounds in 2019.
- House Speaker Charles McCall said, “There are no taxpayer dollars being used and the nonprofit working to raise private funds has done the same work for decades for that property. There is nothing secret or improper about that nonprofit doing what it has always done.”
- The plans for the Mansion grounds pre-dates Stitt’s inauguration in 2019. A group of private Oklahoma businessmen and women have discussed raising private funds to provide a separate residence for families of future Governors. Their interest was to address the living hazards of the existing infrastructure highlighted by previous governors.
- Governor Kevin Stitt and his family will not benefit, in any fashion, from a future family residence. The Governor’s Mansion is currently used as a historical facility available for public tours and used as a meeting location for the executive branch to host dignitaries, recruit new industries, and facilitate large scale events.