OKC Council challenges mayor on plans to move electric substation for $30M

A master plan for the scheduling and budgeting of the MAPS 3 projects still reserves $30 million for moving a power station in Core to Shore even though a majority of the city council said Tuesday they don't favor such expenditure.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 20, 2011
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Councilman Marrs was the first to challenge Cornett on the matter, with fellow council members White, McAtee and Salyer all agreeing they never agreed to reserve $30 million for the substation.

No mention in records

Records kept by City Clerk Frances Kersey appear to back the council members' claims, showing no public discussion or votes held by the council about any funding for the substation. The council never voted for budgets for any of the projects either. Records show the only city document reflecting project budgets was published online by the public information office using information by Cornett's former aide, David Holt.

Mailings to voters by the private MAPS 3 campaign showed the same amounts listed by the public information office, including the $280 million for the convention center with no mention of reserving $30 million for the substation. News accounts at the time show no record of any discussion of the $30 million.

MAPS 3 Program Manager Eric Wenger said $30 million will remain reserved for the power plant, noting the council did not vote against the expenditure at Tuesday's meeting.

When asked about the disagreement with the council, Cornett continued to insist he had a private agreement with council members but admitted it was not mentioned during their open meetings or put into writing.

Cornett added he mentioned the $30 million expenditure in campaign speeches, but could not provide further specifics.

“It was difficult to get people to focus on it because it was seen as such a minor detail in the scheme of things,” Cornett said.


by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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