Both the city of Ardmore Board of Commissioners and the Ardmore Development Authority met in special meetings Monday to discuss pending litigation between the ADA and Highway 53 LLC.
The actions taken in the meetings have yet to be fully determined in terms of public knowledge, as both commission and trustees met in executive session in communications with the Center for Economic Development Law, which was hired by the ADA during its September meeting.
The city approved a motion authorizing its legal counsel, Margaret Love, and city manager J.D. Spohn to coordinate with the ADA's legal counsel, the Center for Economic Development Law, regarding the pending litigation. The ADA approved a motion authorizing the CEDL to develop legal counsel, and interim president and CEO Brian Carter to take action regarding the pending litigation.
The ADA has a pending litigation with Highway 53 LLC on condemnation hearings for a tract of land which would be used to connect rail to an international trade center and logistics hub. An oral argument in district court is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 21. Highway 53 LLC has, in turn, filed against the ADA in a civil case for relief in excess of $10,000, which will also be heard Oct. 21.
Carter said the Highway 53 LLC's action is in relation to land disturbed prior to a filing for eminent domain.
Carter said the ADA will meet in another special meeting Monday as a follow up to the CEDL's plans to develop a legal strategy for issues with the project. One of the CEDL's tasks when it was hired was to look at the ADA's practices and current projects.
"There are concerns, as reported in The Ardmoreite, and the ADA has taken action to get the right of ways for the projects," Carter said. "Both our (city and ADA) meetings were about that action and its future."
In July, Marc Nuttle, managing partner of Oklahoma Sovereign Development LLC, said the laying of railroad tracks was expected to be finished in September. The facility was also expected to be able to receive shipping in November. However, the September projection passed without the completion of the rails, and any other timetable is uncertain as negotiations continue for the land owned by Highway 53 LLC.
During the July meeting, Carter was authorized to acquire up to 275 acres, not to exceed $2.8 million.
"The status has not changed," Carter said. "We have had negotiations since that point every week, but they are confidential."
Carter said the engagement of the CEDL will be beneficial in moving the project forward.
"They are helping us understand the magnitude and detail needed in this type of development," he said. "They have a history of multiple-staged financial projects.
"Our engagement will lighten the steps needed to realize completion of this project. We are much better prepared to move forward with their assistance."