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Incoming Senate Leader Calls Coates Matter Closed (Dec 31, 2010)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - State Senate President Pro Tem-designate Brian Bingman says an investigation is "closed" into the awarding of a multimillion-dollar state contract to a group tied to a state senator and a lobbyist who were having an extramarital affair.

The contract came under scrutiny after reports that Sen. Harry Coates (R-Seminole) and lobbyist Haley Atwood were having an affair while pushing for a group for which Atwood was working to receive a $10 million annual contract for new state juvenile centers.

The state Attorney General's office said Thursday the contract had been properly awarded. Bingman (R-Sapulpa) says he is "relieved to find there is no evidence of undue influence or criminal wrongdoing in this matter."

Bingman says there are no plans for the Senate to conduct additional inquiries into the situation.

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