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Okemah City Council does not file deed on Scott’s house

Okemah City Council does not file deed on Scott’s house

By R.L. Thompson

Buster Scott feels like the city of Okemah is intentionally and illegally trying to steal his property. Over the last few months, Scott has appeared before the Okemah Housing Authority Board and the Okemah City Council addressing abatement letters he has received from the Code Enforcement Officer Kimberly Bradshaw on some of his properties. He has paid a $200 fine and hired legal representation in his continued struggle with the city over his various properties. 

Scott stated in an Okemah News Leader interview on Saturday, August 5 that the city tried to steal his property located at 225 North 4th Street in Okemah by going around him and talking directly to the Deaton Family about taking the property. Scott’s contract for deed is with the Deaton family. 

Scott stated that the city knew it was his property.  He said he had discussed the gravel on the property with Bradshaw and had moved it following their conversation.  He also said he boarded up the lower floor windows after Bradshaw told him to do it.  However, he was surprised when the property he was paying for on a contract for deed was being discussed in executive session by the Okemah City Council.  He stated the city reached out directly to the Deaton family about the property and not to him. His take on this incident  was that the city of Okemah was trying to steal his property. He also stated the city had already gone out for bids to tear down the property at a cost of $28,000.

The Okemah News Leader reported on the executive session of the Okemah City Council in the June 29 edition which contained limited information.The story read: “The Okemah City Council entered executive session during their regular meeting on June 12. The purpose stated on the agenda read “for the purpose of confidential communications between the city council and the city attorney concerning a pending claim regarding property located at 225 North 4th St. pursuant to 25 O.S. Sec. 307 (B)(4). 

The executive session lasted approximately 25 minutes. Upon returning to open session, Mayor Gott made the motion to accept a quit claim deed contingent upon a clear title. Councilman Brandon Anderson seconded the motion.  The council voted 5-0 for the motion. There were no other details given in the meeting. 

Even though nothing else was mentioned during the meeting about the property, it is a short drive covering a few blocks from city hall to 225 North 4th. On the corner sits a large yellow house needing repair.  As of June 25, the house and lot look the same. The property is under a contract for deed by Buster Scott.”

Following the interview with Buster Scott on Saturday, August 5, the News Leader reached out to City Manager Kristi Lesley for her comment on the property located at 225 North 4th and how the city became involved in a process leading to an executive session about the property. City Manager Lesley stated as the abatement process was initiated on the property, the process is for the city to go to the courthouse to find the owner of record.  Because the property was on a contract for deed, the owner of record was the Deatons. Therefore the city reached out the Deaton family.  According to City Manger Lesley, the Deatons were willing to give a quit claim deed to the city. If this were to occur, the owner of record would be the city of Okemah and the contract for deed payments would then be made by Scott to city of Okemah. 

However, since the June 12 meeting of the Okemah City Council, Scott said he has made contact with the Deaton family and made an agreed upon payment to them for the property. Scott says he has now filed the necessary papers at the courthouse listing him as a the owner of record.  Scott feels like he has protected his property from the city stealing it.

City Manager Lesley said they were transparent and following the law in dealing with the owner of record and was working to abate a property. Concerning the obtaining of a bid to abate the property, she said that is true of all properties considered for abatement. 

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