The Ardmore Development Authority agreed Monday to settle with ATP Development, LLC, bringing the lawsuit regarding who owns what at the Colvert Technology Park to an end.
The lawsuit, filed in 2016 by ATP against the Development Authority, aimed to quiet the title to the 47-acres of land and the $483,734 building ATP had constructed on the property. The lawsuit was filed after questions arose regarding who legally owned the land and title because the agreement between ATP and the ADA was not voted on in an open meeting, as specified by the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.
ATP submitted a settlement offer to the ADA, which was accepted following an executive session, during a special ADA meeting Monday.
“The outcome was fair,” said Mita Bates, president and CEO of the ADA. “The ADA and city of Ardmore have worked several years to resolve the issue at the Technology Park. The settlement terms proposed by ATP, and accepted by the ADA, will result in the resolution of a longstanding issue and allow the ADA to move forward with marketing our property.”

The History
In 2008, the ADA drew up a memorandum of understanding that would transfer the 47.23 acres of land to ATP with the promise that they would develop a Technology Park there, but if the park was unsuccessfully developed, the land would revert to the ADA. Two years later the deed to the land was drawn and transferred to ATP, but was amended in 2012.
The deed was amended because ATP borrowed the money to develop the park from a bank that was bought out by First United Bank and Trust. The deed was changed to reflect the change in ownership of the $483,734 debt.
ATP then built a high-tech building on the property with the promise that the ADA would secure Amethyst Research to lease the building. ATP was informed that Amethyst was insolvent, or unable to pay the debts they owed, and was not a viable tenant. Because the building and area was constructed specifically to fit Amethyst’s needs, the Development Authority attempted to find another high-tech client to fill the space but was unsuccessful.
For two years, talks over what to do with the property continued. Ultimately, ATP filed a lawsuit after the ADA attempted to take back the land. ATP argued that they held up their end of the agreement, giving them ownership of the land and that the Authority failed to find a tenant for the building as promised.  
The Authority filed a counterclaim saying ATP’s deed was void because the ADA Board of Trustees failed to hold a open meeting to vote on actions regarding the land. Since the ADA is a public trust, all actions must be approved in an open meeting by a majority vote of the board. By not holding an open meeting, the deed and actions taken on the land, even though they were signed by the ADA chairman and secretary at the time, were in violation of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.

The Settlement
ATP submitted its terms for settlement to the ADA, which will resolve the issue without further court intervention.  
The terms include splitting the land in question into two equal parts, with ATP taking ownership of the east portion of land where the building they financed sits. The authority will then own the west portion of the property.
“At this time we have no specific plans, but it will be added to our inventory of available lands,” Bates said.
In addition to the division of the land, ATP will pay the Ardmore Public Works Authority $75,000 for the roads and infrastructure that were put on, and leading to, the land it now owns. In paying this, ATP will reimburse APWA for taxpayer money that was spent developing the roads and other infrastructure for the Technology Park.
First United Bank, who financed ATP’s loan to build the structure, will release the ADA from responsibility to repay the mortgage on the land that is being distributed back to the authority. The land the ADA will receive from the settlement will be free and clear, since it does not contain the high-tech building.  
ATP and the ADA will each pay its own attorney fees and split the cost of the surveying fees that were needed to provide legal descriptions dividing the land.
By accepting these terms, both parties agreed to drop the suit.