Grand Jury Wants County Clerk Removed

(CN) - An Oklahoma county court clerk should be removed from office for financial mismanagement and neglect of duties, a state grand jury said Thursday.
     Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury members signed an accusation for removal against Greer County Court Clerk Sandy K. Hopingardner, 56.
     The grand jury alleges that since January 2009, Hopingardner has failed to maintain accurate and complete financial records, failed to use collected money for court operations and failed to collect and disburse fees and assessments to the Oklahoma Court Information System Revolving Fund, the Office of Attorney General Victim Services Unit and the Greer County District Attorney's Office, among others.
     The grand jury also accused Hopingardner of exceeding the appropriation budget for her office "multiple times without prior authorization of the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court."
     The grand jury seeks Hopingardner's immediate suspension pending trial for her removal from office. She is not facing criminal charges.
     Hopingardner testified before the grand jury before the removal application was filed. She declined to comment to The Oklahoman newspaper, citing grand jury secrecy rules.
     "I don't think I can answer any question," she told the newspaper. "I was told I can't talk about it at all."
     The grand jury meets for three days each month. It is next scheduled to meet from August 19-21.
     Greer County is 140 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Its seat is in Mangum.