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Thread: Karchmer Garage

  1. #76

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    I've been wary of the OKC Alliance from the get-go. It seems to be an adjustment from the Oklahoma Industry Authority, which back in the 80s, did essentially similar things, i.e., promising GM that they wouldn't have to pay ad valorem taxes, giving away the Presbyterian Office Tower to the members of said Authority. They kept their records all over town at various offices which didn't keep office hours in order to dodge information requests.

    They were spanked by the Attorney General and dismantled. The only reason the powers that be avoided criminal prosecution was because one of them was named E.K. Gaylord and he ran daily front-page editorials against the 'anti-business' Attorney General who was eventually defeated in the primary by Mike Turpen who promptly called off the dogs.

    I have some thoughts about OKC Alliance in that it seems to be an ostensibly private organization made to cover up the negotiations and discussions surrounding doling out public dollars to private entities. Has there ever been an occasion where the City did not wholly adopt a request or recommendation of the OKC Alliance?

    If any other rabble rousing legal types are interested in delving into this issue, I'm game. I'm not interested in going it alone though.

  2. #77

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    There is nothing shady/unethical and certianly not illegal about the alliance in general or this action in particular

    And of course most of what the alliance proposes is as adopted. The reason is people are informed as the process goes along

    Meeting between the city manager and his staff and members of the council of course take place and they take place often. As the council stays informed of what the city is doing on any number of projects. From. A individual street in their ward. To a massive economic development issue

    That is how government works. From a HOA. All the way to the largest body’s.

  3. #78

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    ^

    An HOA is not a public body, i.e. an arm of the government.

    Government and all its processes -- except those strictly outlined as qualifying for private executive sessions, and even those have to be listed on public agendas with a general description -- are meant to be open to the public and all interested parties. Period. And that includes information sessions and deliberation and weighing of alternatives.

    The public is entitled to know exactly what public bodies know, when they know it. That's the whole basis for open meetings and open records laws.


    The Alliance is a bit different because it was formed to not be a public body, but there is much case law that says when an organization receives all or even most of its funding from tax dollars (as the Alliance does) they should indeed be subject to open meetings and records laws. The same would apply to the Boathouse Foundation, State Fairgrounds, etc.


    And besides all the statutes and law, this is all just plain common sense. It seems things have been done is a certain way for so long in OKC that everyone assumes it is the right way to do things.

  4. #79

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    BTW, I now understand the council will be asked to approve an agreement to sell to Karchmer all the city's approximately 12 acres that is currently used as surface parking along the northern edge of Bricktown.


  5. #80

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    BTW, I now understand the council will be asked to approve an agreement to sell to Karchmer all the city's approximately 12 acres that is currently used as surface parking along the northern edge of Bricktown.

    With the way he's handled his other lots, I sure as hell don't want to see him wind up with that much land.

  6. #81

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    9+ acres smack in the middle of downtown... That's gotta be worth so much money right?

  7. #82

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross MacLochness View Post
    9+ acres smack in the middle of downtown... That's gotta be worth so much money right?
    My understanding is the most recent appraisal was $1.5MM but a new one will be done.

    Also, I understand the city plans to credit Karchmer back for the Underground connection, which would be approximately $1.5MM.

  8. #83

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Forgive me if I'm being ignorant, I failed econ, but seems to me we could really use a land value tax round these parts!

  9. #84

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    well... i'm going to have to find a new place to park for when I go to anything downtown....

  10. #85
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    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    It's unlikely he'll change this from being parking anytime soon. He'll assume the existing contracts for parking here. I doubt his current garage efforts fill the entire bit of land.

  11. Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by HOT ROD View Post
    I want the new garage to be built, as it is a much better use for that land AND is very much needed.

    However, I do NOT like this shady 'deal' to sell Bank First AND Continental the city owned Santa Fe garage. Why are these not mutually exclusive (from council prospective)? Why does Bank First (meaning Continental) get to own Santa Fe garage with the carrot that if so, Karchmer will build the much needed Bricktown garage FOR BANK FIRST and connect the two underground (meaning TIF request). ...

    I don't get it, and I don't like any of these Couch and Oconner lead shady deals. I honestly do think they mean well for OKC, but this is too much. We shouldn't have to go under the rug for a local developer to build a much needed garage in Bricktown that's basically already approved and waiting on his final designs and financing. OKC shouldn't be forced to sell the highest earning garage to make this happen either.

    Why is Continental afraid of a long term lease at Santa Fe? Ditto that qu for Bank First?

    I am all for Bank First purchasing Chase Tower and being a major tenant requiring parking lease, but I don't agree they should buy the parking and certainly not for Continental which whom the city seems to be not in favor of doing anyway (since it hasn't yet been done). This screams of corruption and it has Couch's handiwork all over it, particularly the closed door, backroom nature but then last minute disclosure that's basically a rubber stamp. ..

    I think Bank First can buy Chase tower and long term leases at Santa Fe garage from OKC. Continental can also get long term leases from Santa Fe garage. Karchmer can build his garage and get long term leases from one or both of the two companies (and more?). OKC should not sell Santa Fe garage, in fact, the garage goes with the Santa Fe train station across the street/diagonal (which is city owned) - please don't mess this up and potentially tie up future development with these 'ownership' issues. ...
    This post from the Santa Fe Garage thread addresses your questions: http://www.okctalk.com/showthread.ph...33#post1039633

  12. #87

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Correction: Karchmer plans to buy only the land from the tracks to the Walnut Bridge, an area of about 6 acres.

    And the purchase price is set at $1.4MM pending a new appraisal.

  13. #88

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    ^

    An HOA is not a public body, i.e. an arm of the government.

    Government and all its processes -- except those strictly outlined as qualifying for private executive sessions, and even those have to be listed on public agendas with a general description -- are meant to be open to the public and all interested parties. Period. And that includes information sessions and deliberation and weighing of alternatives.

    The public is entitled to know exactly what public bodies know, when they know it. That's the whole basis for open meetings and open records laws.


    The Alliance is a bit different because it was formed to not be a public body, but there is much case law that says when an organization receives all or even most of its funding from tax dollars (as the Alliance does) they should indeed be subject to open meetings and records laws. The same would apply to the Boathouse Foundation, State Fairgrounds, etc.


    And besides all the statutes and law, this is all just plain common sense. It seems things have been done is a certain way for so long in OKC that everyone assumes it is the right way to do things.
    A single mayor or council person. Is not a public body. And has never been intended as such.

    Is your contention is that every conversation between the city manager and his staff and a member of the council should be public record?

  14. Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by jedicurt View Post
    well... i'm going to have to find a new place to park for when I go to anything downtown....
    Crap, me too.

  15. #90

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by BoulderSooner View Post
    A single mayor or council person. Is not a public body. And has never been intended as such.

    Is your contention is that every conversation between the city manager and his staff and a member of the council should be public record?
    No, that is not my contention. At least in that constituting an open meeting. However, any conversation or documents shared between public bodies are in fact subject to open records laws.

    I'm referring to the common practice of 'small group meetings' arranged by Jim Couch or Cathy O'Connor for the specific purpose of avoiding open meeting requirements. Always held in groups of 4 or less, because 5 members of council constitutes a quorum.

    And the practice is not limited to just city council. The same thing has happened with other city public groups, such as the MAPS 3 Board.

    At these meeting detailed specifics are shared. That was exactly the case more than once on these garages, and I've confirmed that with mutliple parties that were involved.

  16. Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I'm not going to debate the statute and case law here, for a variety of reasons.

    I will merely say the statue is a general guideline and written with the express intent of making government as open as possible and there has been much Oklahoma case law about these very issues, so if you're interested I'd recommend doing some research.
    Pete with all do respect I think it is unfair and even potentially damaging to our community to disparage public officials and allege wrongdoing without providing ANY backup in the form of statute or case law. I’ve done exactly as you suggest - research - and I’ve provided multiple links within this forum to state law on the matters discussed.

    However, I’m not an attorney. I’m not saying with certainty that you are wrong, despite the way it may seem. You and I have had many discussions offline, and I recognize and respect your passion to serve the community in your own way, which I know is intended to keep government as honest and as transparent as possible. I believe you have noble motives.

    However, I think this particular issue is incredibly important, as do you, obviously. Where we differ is that I would prefer to deal specifically in facts rather than opinion. You claim to have facts on your side, which you say bolsters your stated opinion, but refuse to reveal them. I have a problem with just taking it on faith with zero backup, despite the fact that I know you are generally a very trustworthy source. I think however that these particular allegations are very, VERY different than taking it on faith that a business plans to locate here or a building will be built. These allegations go the very core of how our City is run, and would have an indelible and massive impact on our community if the wrongdoing you allege is actually taking place.

    I would urge you to carefully consider the power of this platform to shape public opinion. If anyone here has an opinion about the way our city’s business is being conducted but has no empirical facts to support their opinion, it should be very clearly identified as just that; opinion and supposition. If, on the other hand, someone has clear evidence of wrongdoing on the part of public officials they should come forward with it IMMEDIATELY and seek through the existing system (elected, legal, otherwise) to fix the problem and protect the community. It is our civic responsibility to do such a thing, and failure to do so makes a person complicit in the behavior.

    But simply labeling public servants as “shady,” “corrupt,” etc with no specifics, no identifiable laws being broken and a refusal to cite such laws is a slippery slope and potentially damaging to our community.

    I hate hate HATE getting involved in these discussions, but I feel I have to speak up on this topic. I really do wish you the best in your quest to seek out more transparency in government.

  17. #92

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    ^

    In the article I posted I mentioned David Prater's opinion and there are many others in the same vein from Jan-Eric Cartwright and Scott Pruitt from the time they served as state DA.

    I'm not disparging anyone and never used the words 'shady' or 'corrupt'. If others regard the information presented that way, they are entitled to their opinion just as you are entitled to yours.

    And I would strongly argue that getting these issues out into the public where they belong is the exact opposite of "potentially damaging to our community".

  18. Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I'm referring to the common practice of 'small group meetings' arranged by Jim Couch or Cathy O'Connor for the specific purpose of avoiding open meeting requirements. Always held in groups of 4 or less, because 5 members of council constitutes a quorum.

    And the practice is not limited to just city council. The same thing has happened with other city public groups, such as the MAPS 3 Board.

    At these meeting detailed specifics are shared. That was exactly the case more than once on these garages, and I've confirmed that with mutliple parties that were involved.
    This practice is 100% legal. You see it as an attempt to circumvent open meetings laws when instead the intent is to inform (and sometimes informally poll) voting members without placing them in a situation where action could be taken. The point of open meetings law is that public bodies may not TAKE ACTION without public notice and an open meeting. It is NOT so that ALL discussions are public. There is always a place for private negotiation, informative meetings, information gathering, consensus building and other offline discussion.

    If there is no chance the body can take action then t is entirely legal and appropriate for them to be informed of details. In fact it is their job to be, and the job is staff to inform them.

    If a council member takes issue with an aspect of a deal then the City staff has a chance to address their concerns, renegotiate key items, etc.. if staff determines they will have significant opposition they can completely re-work or even abandon a deal rather than see it defeated.

    There are states in which any meeting which includes two or more public officials triggers open meetings requirements. Oklahoma is not one of these states. If someone wishes to advocate this element be added to state law, it is their right to do so. But clearly what happens in those states (as would happen here) is that staff would just meet with members of the voting body one at a time, individually. There would still be private meetings, and these meetings would be legal and appropriate, as are private meetings of four or fewer council members in OKC, currently.

  19. #94

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    ^

    Ample case law says otherwise, as I've said multiple times.

    I stand by all my previous points.


    Reminder that just because something is happening does not make it legal or in compliance.

  20. #95

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    What case law?

  21. #96

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    ^

    Ample case law says otherwise, as I've said multiple times.

    I stand by all my previous points.


    Reminder that just because something is happening does not make it legal or in compliance.
    Do you have any links to the case law that you can share?

  22. Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    ^

    Ample case law says otherwise, as I've said multiple times.

    I stand by all my previous points.


    Reminder that just because something is happening does not make it legal or in compliance.

    I’ve found no online references to such case law, despite considerable individual research. Again, I’m not a lawyer, so perhaps I don’t know where to look. But I would encourage you to post a link to at least SOMETHING which clearly and inarguably corroborates this, in which case I will no longer defend the tactic here.

    As for me, I have now in this forum repeatedly linked to the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act, which is guiding my own perspective on this issue. I will link it again, and urge readers here to read it and judge for themselves: https://www.ok.gov/occy/documents/OpenMeeting.pdf

    If anyone here finds anything in that law which contradicts my position or can cite case law which does, I’m open minded and interested in seeing it.

  23. #98

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    This is from a court case; Cartwright is Jan-Eric Cartwright the former state District Attorney:

    Cartwright said legislators clearly intended for the “discussion stage” to be covered by the Open Meeting Act. “[I]t is clear that, when members of a public body meet informally and begin discussing matters affecting the public body, regardless of whether or not there is any motive to evade the Open Meeting Act, the discussion falls under the auspices of the Open Meeting Act,” he concluded.

    This means public bodies may not meet secretly with experts in an attempt to gain more knowledge about a subject, Cartwright said. Such a meeting “must be open to the public and satisfy other requirements of the Open Meeting Act.” He explained:

    An open deliberative process reveals rejected alternatives about which the public might not know if access to study sessions and deliberative meetings were denied. The public’s right to know would be defeated if a public body could hold a nonpublic “investigatory meeting” to gain insight into a matter and then reform into a public meeting for the actual vote.

    Cartwright said previous state Supreme Court decisions had made clear “that when a public body’s decision making or deliberation process is influenced by outside sources the requirements of the Open Meeting Act must be satisfied.” He concluded:

    When a public body meets with experts in order to gain insight into a matter, they are involved in the deliberation process. The public is interested in how and why officials decide to act or not to act. Therefore, when a public body meets with experts in order to gain insight into a matter, the Open Meeting Act requirements must be satisfied.

  24. #99

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    A public body by defenition does not exist without a quarom

  25. #100

    Default Re: Karchmer Garage

    Quote Originally Posted by BoulderSooner View Post
    A public body by defenition does not exist without a quarom
    False.

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