Energy & Environment

Pruitt’s Superfund adviser downplays his federal ban from banking

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) top adviser for Superfund cleanups says he did not have the financial resources to fight a federal regulator’s decision to ban him from the banking sector, but says nothing “untoward” happened.

Albert “Kell” Kelly told the Montana Standard in a Sunday story that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) ban was related to a 2010 transaction and had nothing to do with his business dealings with Scott Pruitt, now the EPA administrator and Kelly’s boss.

Kelly was CEO of SpiritBank, which gave loans to Pruitt for purposes like a mortgage and buying a minor-league baseball team. The two have known each other for years and both call Tulsa, Okla., home.


“My problem with the FDIC emanated from one singular transaction in 2010. They didn’t like it,” Kelly told the Standard. “The bank didn’t lose any money. The bank made money. There was nothing untoward about it.”

Kelly said he agreed to the banking ban and $125,000 fine to settle the allegations, which he did not detail. He did not admit to the allegations as part of the settlement.

“I ran out of money to oppose [the FDIC]. When you run out of money, you have to take the best settlement you can. You can litigate against the federal government for a long time. There are two sides to the story, and mine rarely gets out there.”

The FDIC said it “has reason to believe that [Kelly] violated a law or regulation, by entering into an agreement pertaining to a loan by the bank without FDIC approval.”

Pruitt brought Kelly to the EPA last year shortly after his banking ban. He is an adviser to Pruitt, helping him with Superfund, the program under which the EPA oversees the cleanups of the nation’s most contaminated sites, like former factories and refineries.

Tags banking industry Environmental Protection Agency FDIC Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Scott Pruitt

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