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OU Regent Phil Albert resigns amid embezzlement allegations

Phil Albert

Phil Albert during the OU Board of Regents meeting May 9.

Phil Albert resigned from the OU Board of Regents Friday amid the continuation of a two-year-old litigation involving embezzlement allegations from a company he co-founded. 

Though The Daily inquired over email about the reason for the resignation, a university spokesperson did not provide a rationale Tuesday morning. 

The Tulsa World first reported in April 2019 that Albert — formerly the president of Pelco Structural, a Claremore-based steel pole manufacturer — left the company. On Nov. 1, 2019, Albert filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company. 

Pelco filed a countersuit on Nov. 25 denying the allegations and claiming Albert and a company accountant embezzled $7.4 million in company funds between 2010 and 2019. The lawsuit also claimed Albert “paid himself a salary greater than that authorized by his employment agreement” and received unauthorized payments labeled “office regular,” “bonus” and “reimbursements.” 

Former Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Albert in 2016, citing his “business acumen.” 

Albert wrote in a Friday resignation letter that it’s been “an honor and distinct privilege” to serve on the board. 

Nondoc reported Monday that Albert was in his final year of his seven-year contract, which would typically come with an appointment as board chair. A university spokesperson wrote that this isn’t always the case, however. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday he will nominate someone to fill the last year of Albert’s term, which ends March 21, 2023. 

“OU is thankful to Phil Albert for his years of service and dedication to our university,” OU President Joseph Harroz said in a press release from Stitt’s office. “As a regent, he has demonstrated an ardent passion for our university and our students, and we sincerely appreciate his counsel these past six years.”

A university spokesperson wrote this year’s officers are slated to be elected at the March 8-9 Board of Regents meeting.

senior news reporter

Ari Fife is a senior news reporter and a senior journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as a summer editor-in-chief, news managing editor, assistant news managing editor and a senior news reporter.

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