OK Supreme Court sends Helmerich Park lawsuit back to district court

Posted at 5:15 PM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 20:48:53-04

An Oklahoma Supreme Court decision Monday keeps alive a group's lawsuit to stop the City of Tulsa from selling a portion of Helmerich Park to retail investors.

The group, led by former Tulsa Mayor Terry Young, has been fighting to keep the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Public Facility Authority from selling the park land which would be turned into retail stores and restaurants. That group filed a lawsuit in district court for that purpose and the city responded by basically asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to dismiss it.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court's unanimous decision against the city's request now sends the case back to district court in Tulsa for trial as the citizens' group continues its pursuit to deny the sale of the park property to REI. 

People have turned out in droves at Tulsa City Council meetings to speak against the sale, far more than have shown support.

In a statement, former Tulsa Mayor Terry Young said, "We have won a strategic victory that will allow our lawsuit to proceed." 

The meeting that led to the council's vote was the sequel to a debate on the future of Helmerich Park and whether to sell several acres for about a million and a half dollars to the developer.

The lawsuit now returns to the jurisdiction of District Court Judge Jefferson Sellers for trial.

"We're prepared to fight this in district court and we believe we have the winning arguments," said Young.

Mayor G.T. Bynum was confident, despite Monday's ruling, that the issue will be settled appropriately through the judicial system.

“Since taking office last December I have sought to resolve this long and drawn out issue in the best interest of all Tulsans," Mayor Bynum said in a statement.  "There are important legal issues that need to be settled, and today's ruling means we will have to wait a while longer for the judicial process to work through them. The most important thing is that we get it right." 

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Download our free app for Apple and Android and Kindle devices.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook