Plaintiffs File First Amended Petition in Cox v. City of Tulsa

Morlan & Associates, P.C., has filed an amendment to the Petition that it filed on July 10, 2008 in the District Court of Tulsa County, in which it challenged the legality of the resolution approved by the Tulsa City Council on July 10, 2008 creating “Stadium Assessment Improvement District No. 1.

Morlan & Associates, P.C. represents a number of owners of property located inside the Inner Dispersal Loop that will be subject to assessments for 30 years beginning July 1, 2009 to finance the construction of a proposed baseball stadium to be located between Elgin and Greenwood north of Archer and to pay for unspecified maintenance, cleaning, security, shuttle services, upkeep, marketing, management and other services for the streets, sidewalks and alleys inside the IDL.

Plaintiffs’ alleged in the First Amended Petition that the Stadium Assessment Improvement District violates 11 O.S. 39-103 and 39-103.1 of the Oklahoma Statutes as well as the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Article 10, Section 26 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that cities in Oklahoma are not authorized to finance the construction of public recreational facilities with special assessments. In addition, Plaintiffs claim that a baseball stadium does not “specially benefit” their properties and as a result the assessment of their properties would constitute a taking of their property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs also claimed that the attempt by the City of Tulsa to assess itself and Tulsa County over a 30 year period to pay principal and interest on bonds sold by a public trust created to construct and own the proposed stadium violates Article 10, Section26 of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits municipal and county governments from becoming indebted beyond a given fiscal year without the approval of 60% of the voters.

Plaintiffs do not object to the City constructing a new baseball stadium in Downtown Tulsa but do not believe that it is fair for the City Council to impose a $90 million obligation of the 1,400 plus properties located inside the IDL. It is their position that multi-propose public recreational facilities like arenas and baseball stadiums should be paid for by all of the taxpayers and not just a few.

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