A petition on the website change.org is calling for the resignation of two Owasso city councilors.
The petition comes after Councilors Patrick Ross and Charlie Brown voted to delay the development of a new animal hospital and housing development. The petition claims the two have abused their power and voted no on three agenda items for political reasons.
The petition’s author alleges Ross and Brown have a personal agenda against City Manager Rodney Ray and City Councilor Chris Kelley. Kelley is the vet trying to open the animal hospital.
A special meeting has been called to discuss the denial of the new developments on Friday at noon.
Charlie Brown sent the following statement to the media on Thursday afternoon:
On March 8, 2013, Mr. Ray sent out an email to the council and others about sales tax and lease payment issues regarding his business that had been brought up by a local advocacy group. He said the issues had been resolved. He wrote "A second claim . . . related to a lawsuit that indicated that our business was being sued by our Landlord. The best thing for me to say about that claim is that, while there was an issue relating to our lease, that issue has been resolved by a simple communication between me and the owner and the fault in the lack of previous communication was entirely mine."
That heightened my curiosity, so I looked up the lawsuit on www.oscn.net. When I was at the courthouse on March 13, 2013 on another matter, I decided to look at the publicly available file for Mr. Ray's case on the lease payment. That's where I found a default letter from Owasso Land Trust where Mr. Ray's personal business was past due over $41,000 in lease payments. There was a hand written note on that letter that indicated only $4,000 had been paid. I also saw that the case was dismissed on March 12, 2013 because neither the defendant nor the plaintiff showed up. I was surprised that OLT did not appear in court to pursue such a large receivable.
I then asked Mr. Ray via an email on March 13, 2013 for documentation of the resolution that he mentioned in the previous email. I was hoping to see clear evidence that all of the lease payments had been made. Mr. Ray did not respond. His lack of response is why I'm so concerned. Of further concern is his failure to disclose to the council the significant personal indebtedness to the largest land developer in Owasso. It can lead to too many unanswered questions about the whole development process in Owasso.
At the meeting on Tuesday, March 18, 2013, I was hoping Mr. Ray would disclose his personal financial situation with Owasso Land Trust prior to their item on Maple Glen being heard by the council. He did not do so. At that point, I was left wondering what other undisclosed matters there might be with other parties seeking new developments, which is why I voted against any further developments. The council needs to address the matter of disclosure thoroughly and quickly.
I have requested that an item be placed on the agenda for the next regular council meeting on April 2, 2013 to discuss the expectations for the employees that the council oversees (City Manager, City Attorney & City Clerk) regarding disclosure of any personal obligations incurred by such employee with any entity or business that does business with the city or that has business pending with the city.
While out of town on a family medical emergency, I was informed by Mr. Ray that the mayor had called for a special meeting on Friday, March 22, 2013. I plan to be back in town late Monday night provided the family member stabilizes. I asked the mayor to instead have the special meeting on Tuesday March 26 so that I might have a chance to attend. The mayor denied my request.