Lake Texoma

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Pointe Vista Lawsuit ends with Open Meetings Violation

by
The Lake Texoma Messenger
I began investigating the privatization of Lake Texoma State Park just over five years ago. I founded the Friends of Lake Texoma State Park and we got the Corps of Engineers to require a full EIS on the additional 1,022 acres of federal land which the Tourism Department is attempting to broker on behalf of Pointe Vista Development. WE raise the question to the Governor and Tourism Secretary Snodgrass: How do you plan on effecting the transfer of these park lands since you abandoned the federal Environmental Impact Statement in late 2011 without notifying either the press or the public stakeholders?




Two weeks ago, on Thursday May 19th, the state Commissioners of the Land Office met at the Capitol Building. Following an Executive Session they quickly took two votes. Those votes authorized the actions they took at the Marshall County clerk's office on May 12th.


They released Pointe Vista from their 2008 redevelopment contracts, while letting them keep over 700 acres of Lake Texoma State Park. They also repurchased fifty acres from the failed developer. This was one of the grounds for Governor Fallin and Pointe Vista's JOINT MOTION to dismiss the lawsuit.


The state violated the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act when they processed their September 16, 2015 "settlement agreement" before they took the votes to approve those actions. This is a classic example of why Open Meetings Act was created in the first place.


Last September, the Governor's former communications director Alex Weintz announced that the "settlement" had not been finalized or submitted to the court.


That's not what Fallin's communications director told me.


Governor's Communications Director Responds


Michael McNutt is Communications Director for Fallin. I spoke with him briefly after the CLO meeting.


I asked McNutt, "When they hammer out the details on the contract... are they going to sell that fifty acres before they go to the court and say, 'It's now settled?' Or, does the judge have to approve the settlement?"


He said, "I think the settlement has already been approved. That was done in September."


I asked, "Well it hasn't been submitted to the court for judge Stuart's approval.... Do you know when they'll do that?"


McNutt said, "I suppose once they get an agreement, then they'll do that. Then, I think the plan is, once they get an agreement, they'll announce it, file and whatever else needs to be done."


I asked, "So, they'll do it after they sell the fifty acres to the new developer, you know, once it's all cinched?"


McNutt said, "I, I, yeah. Uh, I don't know."


The CLO may have received oral approval from the court without submitting a written and signed settlement agreement.


The general public was given the impression that the CLO completed their law suit. Actually, they abandoned it.


They processed their settlement agreement one week before they voted to approve it. To comply with state law, they would have had to vote to approve the settlement terms at their April meeting, before processing it in Marshall County on May 12th.


But then, they would have been asked for the final court approved settlement agreement which the governor's office offered to provide. It was never completed, and it was never offered or mentioned again.


This is how corporate / state PR campaigns work. "Perception is the reality," they say. And they've spent years trying to drag this out and wear people down.


Should Pointe Vista be rewarded for their persistence?


Should they be allowed to keep the 700 acres of Lake Texoma State Park and do whatever they want with it?




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