Six weeks ago Governor Fallin announced the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) “voted to approve a settlement” in their lawsuit against Pointe Vista Development. As of Friday (10/30), that “settlement” agreement has yet to be submitted to, or approved by, Judge Roger Stuart at the Oklahoma County District Court.
“This settlement provides a clean and realistic development plan for Lake Texoma and ensures local communities and the state of Oklahoma can benefit from this great natural resource,” Fallin said, in a news release. “This is a victory for the Texoma community, which has been waiting for years for an agreement and a path forward.” (Durant Democrat, 9/17/2015).
Governor Fallin implies the settlement received legal approval by omitting the fact that it hasn’t even been submitted to the court. In the weeks since September 16, we learned the CLO excluded our local elected officials and mediated the proposed settlement behind closed doors.
However, State Reps. Tommy Hardin and Dustin Roberts and Sen. Josh Brecheen also support the deal. They said, “Many of us had concerns this lawsuit would go on for years, thus further delaying development at Lake Texoma, with a settlement being reached it will allow plans to be implemented.” (The Madill Record, 9/24/2015)
There is no development plan with this proposed settlement. Unless they are talking about Pointe Vista’s plan to keep our park land and do what they want with it. Who does that serve but Pointe Vista? It doesn’t serve the citizens and taxpayers of Marshall and Bryan counties.
The Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) would release Pointe Vista from all of their development obligations. Pointe Vista would no longer be required to build a thing. Plus, they would get to keep over 700 of the 758 acres of Lake Texoma State Park sold to them in 2008. Those land sales were based on a promise to build a hotel and convention center.
Pointe Vista was first and last to raise the threat of a continuing delay that would result from litigation. They were warning about years of delay in the months before “CLO v Pointe Vista” was filed in the court in January, 2014. And now our elected officials, from the governor on down, are resorting to the same argument to put a positive spin on an outrageous betrayal of the public trust.
The real threat comes in not holding Pointe Vista legally accountable, and letting them keep the bulk of our public park land. Let’s not fool ourselves about this. It is stated in Biblical scripture that the most potent tool in Satan’s arsenal (or that of evil personified) is deception.
The CLO settlement would reward Pointe Vista by relieving them of all construction obligations, plus let them keep our park land. The CLO would take back the job of contracting out a new hotel on 50 acres repurchased from Pointe Vista.
Pointe Vista also wants the state CLO to purchase an additional 1,022 acres of federal park lands on their behalf, based on an obsolete 2008 contract between Pointe Vista and the Tourism Department. This makes no sense.
Why would the Corps of Engineers agree to sell the state more park land for Pointe Vista (Area C, including the Lake Texoma State Park campgrounds), if Pointe Vista is abandoning their development plan? They would not.
Pointe Vista wasted six years on false promises and excuses. The CLO wasted almost two years posing as if they were going to prosecute Pointe Vista in the court. Together they wasted eight years on total deceit. Now Hardin, Roberts and Brecheen join them in the continuing smoke and mirrors. They are really glad we won’t be “caught up in the courts for another 8-10 years.”
The CLO, Pointe Vista and McAfee & Taft attorneys came up with this bizarre wish list of a settlement. It is a distraction. Their only goal is to keep our park land privatized. The last thing they intended was to prosecute their case and actually risk winning in the Oklahoma County court.
Nowhere in almost two years of court filings does either side argue to rescind the original development requirements, and let Pointe Vista keep the bulk of the land they purchased. If Judge Stuart approves this bogus settlement, allowing his court to be used for this purpose, this will be his lasting legacy as an Oklahoma judge.
Stuart should reject this corrupt settlement and order the case to trial. This dirty deal is based on Pointe Vista having won all of their arguments in their counter suit, without having to actually try their case. It would serve the public interest if the court were to order the CLO’s independent legal counsel and Pointe Vista to go forward with the case and actually determine the merits of each side.
Submitted by Stephen Willis
Save Lake Texoma / Restore The Park