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Oil Executive invests In The City Sentinel; Plans Expansion

Stacy Martin, Managing Editor

Cory Charlston, The City Sentinel’s new partner and co-publisher, envisions a newspaper with expanded sections, redesigned layout and expanded conservative content, he said last week.

“I think it’s a very nice asset,’’ he said. “It’s intellectually interesting to me.”

He foresees expansion, referring to faith, oil and gas, government, opinion and business content. “I like the paper. I wouldn’t be getting involved otherwise.”

Charlston said he had been considering investing in a news operation and stumbled across The City Sentinel in the lobby of a downtown office building filled with attorneys.

“It seemed to me if the legal counsel in this town is reading this newspaper then there’s something to this newspaper.”

He has arranged considerable additional support facilities for The City Sentinel – including the AP Newsroom and Newswire Service. He holds the Associated Press account for the paper – making him a member of the Associated Press.

“I think the AP adds huge value to the paper,” he said.

While The City Sentinel could be described as center-left in its news pages, Charleston wants to preserve that aspect in deference to the audience it has built. He sees the operation moving more on occasion to center-right.

Born in Gulfport Mississippi, Charlston, 42, is an energy industrialist, petroleum landman, an independent petroleum producer and private investor and a mineral rights owner in the continental United States. Holdings are extensive — over one million gross acres — including much of West Texas’ Permian Basin. He is active in numerous of industry associations.

He has spent his professional life living in and working in Washington state, Texas and Oklahoma. Charlston is an oil and gas heir to the Marland Oil Co., the precursor to ConocoPhillips Corp. His great-grandfather Chester H. Westfall, an independent petroleum producer, was a co-founder of the Marland Oil Co. and 101 Ranch Oil Company, with Governor E.W. Marland, of Oklahoma, along with a co-founder of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

 A political journalist by original profession – Westfall was newsman E.K. Gaylord’s political lobbyist.

Charlston attended Seattle University where he studied economics as a pure social science and public policy. He left Seattle University in 2007 to focus full-time on his crude oil businesses and accounts and other investments, along with the interests of the Republican National Committee. He founded WG Commercial Real Estate Holdings Co, in 2009.

He is a donor, activist, and is “pretty right-wing” in his political ideologies and views. Charlston is a sizable contributor to political committees in the United States, specifically, the Republican National Committee aligned committees.

He counts former President Donald Trump, Sen. James Lankford and Sen. Jim Inhofe among those he supports.

Although he enjoys enormous professional success in the oil business, there was a very dark chapter during his youth.

Charlston was wrongfully convicted 1993 at 14 years old of non-intentional murder 2nd degree. It was overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court in 2003. Despite being illegally detained for 10 years, Charlston has no constitutionally valid conviction.

He counts this period as the most devastating in his life because a young man lost his life.

“It was bad, really bad,” Charlston said. “It destroyed me to see how utterly devastated his [the boy who died] mother was. I’m very close to my mother. So it had a huge effect on me.”

He looks forward to this new chapter in partnership with The City Sentinel.

Charlston resides in Gatewood, in the heart of The City Sentinel’s readership area, with his wife Stacy, a Costco executive.

Cory Charlston, Photograph by Stacy Martin