The state Supreme Court is ordering Oklahoma County to pay back $3.3 million in unpaid medical bills connected to the Oklahoma County Jail.
The court on Tuesday said the county is required by the state constitution to pay for the care of inmates and ordered the payment to Armor Correctional Health Services.
The county did not dispute the amount owed, but argued it shouldn’t have to pay because Armor had not provided proof the funds were available and had appealed a lower court ruling that it should pay the company.
The state Supreme Court rejected the county’s claim and found that Armor must be paid for providing “reasonable, proper and necessary” medical services to the county’s inmates.
“This decision was not unanticipated, given the poor management and irresponsible handling of taxpayer funds by Sheriff John Whetsel and his administration, as was so clearly outlined in the report of the State Auditor. We should recall that the Board of County Commissioners and the Budget Board specifically allocated funds to pay Armor’s bills, and that Sheriff Whetsel arbitrarily decided to spend those dollars on other matters," said Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan.
An attorney for the county was not immediately available for comment.