The Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) filed suit against Pointe Vista Development in January 2014 for breach of contract. They also filed a “Notice of Pendency of Action (lis pendens)” with the Marshall County Clerk.
This notice does two things. It identifies “CLO v Pointe Vista Development, LLC” as case number CJ-2014-152 in the Oklahoma County District Court. It also says that land tracts sold to Pointe Vista in 2008 are subject to ongoing legal action.
This put a hold on the former Lake Texoma State Park land while the CLO seeks the right to rescind the original Pointe Vista land deals. This means they could possibly restore these park lands to state ownership.
Pointe Vista Fails to Disclose Mortgage on the Park Land
Last year from March through May, both sides submitted legal motions and replies. On May 16, 2014, the attorneys attended their first court hearing before Judge Roger Stuart.
Between the initial CLO filing of the suit, and the first hearing over four months later, Pointe Vista never informed the CLO or the court of an outstanding mortgage loan on the former park land. First Liberty Bank of Oklahoma City issued the loan to Pointe Vista in June, 2009. By June, 2014, the loan climbed to $3,623,539.53 “with interest and payments.” Their promissory note was “due and payable on June 18, 2015.”
The founders of First Liberty Bank are Barry Switzer, former head football coach for the University of Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys; country singer Toby Keith; Hunter Miller, an Oklahoma businessman; and Joey Root, First Liberty Bank president and chief executive officer. Other investors include Bob Stoops, OU head football coach; Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy; Mark Fischer, Chaparral Energy CEO; and Bill Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Short-Bruza CEO. (The Journal Record, OKC 3/28/2011)
Developer Self-dealing, Selling off Former Park Land
Aubrey McClendon reportedly transferred his interest in Pointe Vista Development (PVD) to Mark and Scott Fischer last August. That same month the Fischers began carving out land tracts for themselves and Pointe Vista manager, Ryan Chapman.
On Aug. 6, 2014, a special warranty deed was issued for each of four land parcels which were sold to Mark Fischer, Scott Fischer, Ryan Chapman and Pointe Vista Development, LLC. McAfee & Taft attorneys filed the deeds and title transfers in Marshall County. None of the four deeds contained a documentary stamp. This means taxes were not paid and that the land value was not assessed on the parcels.
The sale of these land tracts on the far northwest shore facing Little Glasses cove appears to violate the legal hold placed on the park lands. It also appears to have been done without informing the CLO attorneys at Conner & Winters, or the Oklahoma County District Court.
Were the Land Commissioners Aware of these Land Sales?
On March 9, 2015, the attorneys finally filed their Scheduling Order which Judge Stuart had requested ten months earlier. They announced the Oklahoma Department of Tourism (OTRD) is entering the case on the side of Pointe Vista as a co-defendant. They also announced PVD plans for a “motion to dissolve lis pendens” and thereby lift the restrictions on title transfers and the sale of former park land.
They filed a joint motion for an order referring case to mediation. This is a standard procedure prior to civil court cases to attempt to minimize the costs of litigation. On the same day the Court issued the Order.
On May 29, attorneys filed a joint motion to extend certain scheduling order deadlines. “Due to ongoing settlement discussions and to facilitate further discussions, the parties jointly request a one month extension of deadlines, (to June 30), so that the parties may continue to engage in discussions to potentially resolve the case.”
On June 1, the court agreed and ordered that any application to join additional parties or amend the pleadings may be filed after June 30, 2015. “Defendant to Join Department of Tourism as Defendant and File Motions to Dissolve Lis Pendens on June 30, 2015.”
Allowing Pointe Vista to Sell Park Land Undermines State Lawsuit
At the first hearing last year McAfee & Taft argued that the state’s sole remedy to Pointe Vista’s breach of contract is “specific performance.” They argued that Pointe Vista can be compelled to go forward with construction within a reasonable time frame. They said that’s the state’s only remedy.
The CLO argued Pointe Vista was responsible for their own failure to construct the hotel and convention center. The CLO argued that “specific performance” was unconstitutional because it didn’t provide a meaningful remedy. Additional remedies they requested are: (1) court costs and (2) the right to rescind the original land sales to Pointe Vista as if they had never happened.
It appears Pointe Vista wants to sell even more of the land tracts surrounding Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course. If the state was aware of the prior sales, neither they nor Pointe Vista informed the court.
If the CLO was aware of the outstanding mortgage loan on Pointe Vista’s park land, neither they nor Pointe Vista informed the court.
Will they approve Pointe Vista’s request to dissolve lis pendens?
Did the commissioners of the Land Office know that Pointe Vista’s attorneys, McAfee & Taft, and their owners and officers were involved in these land sales last August?
If the commissioners were unaware of Pointe Vista’s self-dealing land sales, then what are they going to do about it?
Will the CLO let Pointe Vista keep the land, while arguing for the right to take it back?
Pointe Vista withheld information about an existing mortgage loan on the former Lake Texoma State Park land. They hid the relationship between Pointe Vista’s owners and First Liberty Bank. Is there cause for the state to investigate further?
Submitted by Stephen Willis
Save Lake Texoma/Restore The Park