Since its inception, the Ardmore Development Authority has engineered a significant number of land deals. But one deal in particular has the ADA and city officials furnishing documents to attorneys to determine if a third party has a claim on a piece of land located in Lot 3, Block 1 of the Kwik Addition No. 1.
In short, the land the newest water tower sits on.
IMTEC Corporation has notified the City of Ardmore of its right to repurchase the land, which would include all improvements, i.e. water tower, which cost the city $3.3 million. The land was purchased by the Ardmore Public Works Authority from the ADA in a general warranty deed in 2008 for the purpose of building the water tower. A meeting took place recently between City Manager J.D. Spohn, Mayor Bob Guerin, former ADA President Wes Stucky and IMTEC representative Ron Bulard in which IMTEC's right to repurchase the land was discussed.
A general warranty deed is one in which the grantor guarantees they have clear title to a piece of real estate and the right to sell it. It guarantees there are no hidden liens or encumbrances on the property.
"I think it has the potential to be a serious situation," Spohn said. "It is a serious concern to take care of this as soon as possible. We had a meeting with some of the ADA board members, Mita Bates and Brian Carter and we advised them of some of our concerns. We have resolved to work together toward a satisfactory conclusion for everyone involved."
The land in question was leased by IMTEC Corporation from the ADA July 2, 2001. As part of the agreement, IMTEC was given the option to purchase the land and improvements by notifying the ADA in writing of its intent to do so. The option was re-iterated in a Correction Quit-Claim Deed on Sept. 29, 2006, which was signed by Wes Stucky, former ADA Chairman Andre Moore and notarized by current ADA Vice-President Mita Bates.
On Jan. 18, IMTEC Real Estate Inc. notified the city in writing of its intent to take ownership of the property and all improvements through its various lease agreements with the ADA.
The ADA has chosen not to comment on the matter, but Bates did say the ADA is working with the city diligently and cooperatively to address the issue. The city sent an email to Stucky on Feb. 19, asking for 17 different items of documentation. The request has been met and the city has forwarded the documents to its attorney, Margaret Love.
"I received the documents Thursday and I have not been able to look at them yet," Love said. "Mita Bates has been extremely cooperative in getting these documents to me."
Love also said it is premature to determine what steps will take place next.
The city purchased the land in 2008 for $10,000 and as part of its contract agreed to several conditions which included constructing a concrete parking lot for the use of IMTEC as well as redesigning the existing storm water detention basin in a manner to accommodate a proposed building expansion and construction of the water tower. The city also had to pay the cost of reconstruction of a street around the planned facility expansion.
Bulard, speaking on behalf of IMTEC, declined to comment.
An email, gained through an open records request dated May 22, 2012, from Stucky to Spohn, said Bulard was asking when he would receive a deed to the old water tower and other benefits due him. Stucky also described fulfilling the city's obligations as a "tricky situation that just won't go away."
In correspondence from IMTEC to Spohn, gained through an open record request, an offer of a tax write-off for the property is referred to but declined "as other members (of the LLC ) have no interest in the tax write-off and are concerned about the devaluation of the property due to the placement of the water tower over the building."
Other alternatives offered on the document are:
• Trade the property for the property where the old water tower is located
• The ADA can reduce the existing debt under the mortgages pertaining to the property
• At such time as IMTEC exercises its right to own the property (including the property under the water tower) IMTEC Real Estate LLC will agree to a long-term lease, with renewals, with the City of Ardmore at a rate of $1,500 per month.
Bulard also refers to the Nov. 20 meeting and wrote "As Wes stated at the meeting, the ADA mishandled the situation by not obtaining a written agreement wherein IMTEC Real Estate LLC agreed to the deeding of the subject property from the ADA to the City of Ardmore."
When the sale took place, Dan Parrott was the city manager and current city attorney Ted Pasley sat in the same position. It is unknown why the city did not identify IMTEC's right to repurchase the land or whether or not the information was divulged by the ADA upon sale of the land.
"It's hard for me to answer that because I wasn't here at that time," Spohn said. Spohn said he has talked with Pasley but those conversations fall under attorney/client privilege. However, he did say the city had also mismanaged the situation.
"We need a resolution as soon as we can get one," he said.
The ADA has also responded to a city request for information regarding a $600,000 loan from the city to the ADA. In a 2011 audit, the loan is listed for park improvements and matures on demand. Spohn said the loan was made in 2008. Love said information requested is to clarify some issues.
No payments have been made on the loan and Spohn said the agreement, as it was structured, would not require repayment until the ADA issued new TIFF bonds. No bonds have been issued since the loan was made.