Tulsa County land buy OK'd by Creek council
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Oklahoman Correspondent
Sunday, April 26, 2009
4/26/09 at 3:50 AM
OKMULGEE — The Muscogee (Creek) National Council voted Saturday to buy land in Tulsa County for more than $2.5 million.
The council voted 23-2 to appropriate $2,529,900 for the purchase of land described on its agenda only as being in Tulsa County. By the same vote, it also approved a resolution authorizing Principal Chief A.D. Ellis to execute a contract to purchase the property.
The tribal secretary, Terry Fish, declined to identify the two council members who opposed the measures. Fish referred questions to the chief.
Ellis, who did not attend the meeting, said earlier that the project is between the tribe's Trade and Commerce Authority and the city of Jenks. His spokesman, Thompson Gouge, was not available for comment.
The council decided in December to hold off on purchasing 42.5 acres near 121st Street and Yale Avenue in Tulsa County for more than $2.5 million after Ellis asked it to wait until the tribe had opened its new River Spirit casino.
A tribal official confirmed to the Tulsa World then that the land likely would be used for the north end of a bridge over the Arkansas River from Tulsa to Jenks.
Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland was not available for comment, but he had said earlier that he knew nothing about a possible deal with the tribe to build a bridge linking the communities.
The proposed property purchase was listed as three separate items on the council's agenda. Before the items were discussed, a motion was made for the property to be discussed in executive session. Four men and the tribe's attorney were invited to join the executive session.
The council ended the executive session after approximately 30 minutes and voted to combine the three agenda items dealing with the property and pass the resolution.
Three of the men declined to identify themselves after the meeting. They referred questions to Tony Lombardi, who also attended the executive session.
Lombardi, who identified himself as a broker, would not comment on how much acreage was involved but did say "we decided what way to go."
If purchased by the tribe, the land would likely go through a lengthy trust process that would take it out of the jurisdiction of local and state governments.
Construction of a bridge in the area has been an ongoing saga involving the county, Tulsa, Bixby and Jenks.
A private company had planned to build a toll bridge spanning the Arkansas River near 121st Street and Yale Avenue, but residents in the area raised fierce opposition and challenged the plan in court.
The state Supreme Court ruled in January that Jenks and Bixby could not allow a private company to build and operate the toll bridge without Tulsa's involvement.