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Cedar Lake Fire Department land sale may end up as lawsuit

The Canadian County employee who was able to purchase the land deed for the Cedar Lake Volunteer Fire Department has filed a counter claim in county court, asking for either the land or several thousand dollars in compensation.
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: June 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: June 29, 2014

A county employee who was able to buy the land deed for a volunteer fire department due to a clerical error is asking a court to give him the land or pay him several thousand dollars.

In April, land that houses the Cedar Lake Fire Department accidentally was put up for sale as a tax delinquent property and purchased for $100 by a man named Howie Sutton, a maintenance employee who works in the same building as the Canadian County commissioner’s office.

“My position is that we made a mistake, we’re human beings, and we make mistakes, and we want to take whatever legal steps we can to retain ownership and continue its use as a fire station,” District 2 Canadian County Commissioner David Anderson told The Oklahoman in a June 3 interview.

Sutton also has bought several other plots of land in the Cedar Lake community.

In a petition also filed on June 3, Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse said the county did not have the authority to sell the land and asked a Canadian County court to return the deed to the volunteer fire department.

According to the deed, when the Western Sportsman Club — a part of Cedar Lake community — donated the lot for the fire department, it also created a stipulation giving them the option to buy back the land if it were to ever be sold by Canadian County.

The Western Sportsman Club was never given the option to buy back the land, and the sale of the lot is not legal, Hesse asserted in the petition. The filing also noted since the property was county-owned, it could not have been auctioned for tax delinquency.

Sutton hired Yukon attorney Mark Osby and filed a response June 19, denying the deed was invalid. Sutton’s filing says that since the auction for the property was announced in the local newspaper, Western Sportsman Club was properly notified of the sale of the land its volunteer fire department sits on.

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch, where he covered areas such as immigration and drug addiction, he went...
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