Turnpike Authority Sued for Fraud

Bison Blinds
Attorney Jerry Fent visits with members of Citizens Against the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike at a September Oklahoma Supreme Court hearing.

A dictionary, the state’s Open Records laws, the Oklahoma constitution and meeting minutes of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority were cited in Tuesday’s lawsuit challenging the OTA’s funding of its proposed $480 million Driving Forward Program.

Constitutional advocate Jerry Fent filed the lawsuit 20 days after the court denied his earlier protests that the OTA’s practices are unconstitutional in its funding and combining of projects. Fent has thrown in an accusation of fraud into his petition to rehear the case at the state’s highest court.

Fent writes in his suit that when the OTA submitted its application to the court to sell bonds for the turnpike program, it made no mention of the $90 million line of credit the authority had already approved in March 2016 or that the authority was already spending money to buy properties for the Eastern Oklahoma County route. He claims that constitutes fraud in the OTA’s application.

The lawsuit states: Non-disclosure of prior bond debt money from a bank without a prior Court authorization would be unconstitutional and unlawful acts. (Oklahoma Const Art 10 Sec 23 debt prohibition).

A review of the filed OTA application and brief disclose no actual and truthful information or admission that money has been obtained from the Wells Fargo Bank, National Association and Bank of Oklahoma for the “Oklahoma Driving Forward Projects.”

This non-disclosed internal process of acquiring bond debt credit money creates an actual legal term called intrinsic fraud, as in the same “subject matter” and same purpose of a filed or pending lawsuit.

Fent cites Black’s law dictionary to define intrinsic fraud as “fraud which occurs within the framework of actual conduct of trial and pertains to affects determination of issues presented …. it may be accomplished by concealment or misrepresentation of evidence.”

Fent also says “when there is unconstitutional, unlawful fraud performed during and in the action (and later discovered), the journal entry or opinion will be withdrawn by the courts.”

Fent also used Oklahoma County public records of real property deeds filed under Oklahoma Turnpike Authority as the grantee of 53 deeds (with 29 names on file) filed from September 26 – November 18, 2016. The court ruled on the bond issue December 13, 2016. Fent writes the 2015 tax market value according to the Oklahoma County Assessor was nearly $4 million.

Fent uses minutes of the OTA meetings to tell the court that funds began being spent on Driving Forward beginning at the January 2016 meeting, a Right of Way Services Contract with Smith Roberts Land Services for $2.5 million.

Fent asks that the the court allow him to submit exhibits with his lawsuit within ten days, and to give the OTA 20 days to respond. And ultimately for the court to withdraw its December 13, 2016, opinion and dismiss the case in violation of intrinsic fraud.

In previous responses to Fent’s objections, attorneys for OTA have claimed their actions are legal pointing to their decades of approval in the courts and with the growth of state’s turnpike program.

The State Attorney General was sent a copy of the lawsuit, as was Eric Groves who has been representing Citizens Opposed to the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike group.

Read the entire case here.



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