PONCA CITY â€” The state attorney general has intervened on behalf of 44 children scheduled to be evicted from a children's home during the holiday season.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed a request Tuesday in Kay County District Court for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the closing of the American Legion Children's Home in Ponca City. He also is asking that a judge nullify all prior decisions about closing the home, remove three of its board members and appoint a receiver to oversee the charity's
The board's executive committee, Art Besa, of Lawton, David Kellerman, of Mustang, and W.D. Wilson, of Oklahoma City, voted in October to close the home Dec. 31. Edmondson wants them removed. Calls to the three men and their attorney were not returned.
Kellerman also is the adjutant for the American Legion of
â€œShame on the American Legion and especially the home's board for their callous indifference to the plight of 44 children,â€ Edmondson said. â€œThat it's almost Christmas only serves to worsen the impact of this decision. This is not like the American Legion I have for so long admired.â€
Established in 1928 by oil magnate E.W. Marland, the American Legion Children's Home provides care for needy children focusing on descendants of active and former members of the military. It has since evolved to serve all children, and receives 90 percent of its funding from the state Department of Human Services. The home has a reported $2.6 million in cash, along with other assets such as vehicles, electronics and furnishings.
District Judge D.W. Boyd granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday barring the board from selling any of the home's assets until he issues a ruling on Edmondson's requests. A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m., Dec. 14.