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Ward 7 Oklahoma City Councilman John Pettis has resigned his seat amid charges that he embezzled money from three charities he set up and intentionally failed to file income taxes.

Pettis said in his resignation letter that it was “with great sadness” that he was resigning.

A primary special election to fill the seat will be Aug. 28.

Mayor David Holt received the resignation letter at 12:26 Thursday stating that the resignation is effective May 31.

Pettis closed the letter saying, “The people of Ward 7 will always be in my heart.”

“As I close this chapter of my life,” Pettis wrote, “I still believe the best is yet to come.”

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed charges Friday.

Pettis was then arraigned Tuesday morning with three felony counts of embezzlement of over $165,000 connected to three charities the councilman set up and one count of intentionally failing to file a tax return for the years 2009 to 2017.

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The City of Oklahoma City charter states the Council will take two actions within 30 days of the May 31 resignation:

  • Appoint, by majority vote, a qualified person to immediately fill the vacancy.
  • Call a special election to fill the vacancy for the rest of the four-year term. Aug. 28 is the next available election date.

When the Council passes a resolution to establish the Aug. 28 primary special election, they will set a 3-day candidate filing period.

If only one candidate files to run, that candidate will be elected to the office automatically.

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