Enid's city attorney will proceed with the purchase of property near Government Springs South Park.
Enid City Commission was going to discuss the purchase, and a pending investigation, claim or action during an executive session — closed to the public — on Thursday, but Ward 2 Commissioner Aaron Brownlee made a motion not to go into executive session.
"First of all, this is about a property purchase. It has nothing to do with anything other than a property purchase. We don't have any plans for development of that site, it's purely about a property. Second, we believe we have a good contract," he said, adding City Attorney Andrea Chism has done great due diligence. "There's no reason to hold it up any further, we just need to proceed on and give her the authorization to do what she's been doing. Nothing to date indicates that we don't have a good contract."
Title work is nearing completion, Brownlee said.
"We don't know if there are any issues. If there are, then we'll find out with the title work. We don't have anything to talk about tonight. It's all speculation. And lastly, I think that our contract is dated prior to anything with a real estate agent," he said, adding that would be determined eventually. "I just suggest we ask Andrea to proceed with the purchase as we originally directed and wait till the title work comes back, and then, at that point, after the due diligence process, address any issues that might exist."
Mayor Bill Shewey asked Chism to find out when the seller contracted with Coldwell Banker Realty III. He also asked if the property is for sale or not.
Brownlee said the property is for sale.
"There is an issue with who has the authorization to sell it. The due diligence process will more clearly identify that. I think we're dealing with the right people, and we will know shortly, but if we're not, then we'd need to get together and talk about it. If we are, then we need to proceed," Brownlee said.
The commission approved purchasing the property during a Nov. 15 meeting. In the meeting, it was stated the purchase was for the expansion of the park, but Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell has since disclosed plans for the property may include a casino — which was discussed during an executive session later in the Nov. 15 meeting.
HD Manning Development Enterprises LLC owns the property.
Olive Jackson, who says she is the manager of the LLC, declined a city of Enid offer on the property in May 2016. She listed the property for sale with Coldwell Banker in September or October.
“The contract is with the HD Manning Development Enterprises LLC, which John H. Manning Sr. signed as the president of the LLC. The city believes he was authorized to do (so) by the LLC operating statement. The property is working through the closing process and a closing date has not been determined yet,” City Manager Jerald Gilbert said last week.
Manning is Jackson’s brother, and she claims he is an inactive partner in the corporation, owns 15 percent of the property and has no right to sell the property to the city. Manning tried to rescind the contract in a letter.
“My brother. I don’t know what they’re going to get out of him because he doesn’t have any rights to anything. I don’t understand it, I just don’t understand it,” Jackson, of Henderson, Nev., said. “I’m the manager, they haven’t consulted with me, so they can’t pursue anything.
“My real estate company is handling all of that, so if they want to purchase it from them, they’re more than welcome to.”