Oklahoma governor says Texoma deals lack teeth

Tourism Department releases Lake Texoma contract it approved after receiving permission from private developer.
by Brianna Bailey Modified: July 31, 2013 at 8:30 am •  Published: July 30, 2013

With progress at a standstill, the deals have come under increased scrutiny in recent months. Pointe Vista's agreement to develop more than 700 acres of parkland the developer purchased in 2008 spells out a deadline of May 2014 for construction to begin on the hotel, but the only remedy for the state is a clause that allows the state to sue Pointe Vista to enforce the contract.

The Tourism Department had been squabbling with Pointe Vista over who should pay the cost of an environmental study that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires to sell part of the land to Pointe Vista, but the developer agreed last week to fund the study. Pointe Vista is still working to move the project forward, the developer said in a statement.

“In light of our decision to fund the environmental impact study, we are hopeful to meet with (the Tourism Department) as soon as possible to move the project forward,” Pointe Vista said.

Pointe Vista previously declined to allow the Tourism Department to release the contract but reversed course after The Oklahoman published a front-page story about how the state would not release the contract to the public.

“The Department of Tourism and Recreation is committed to openness and transparency, so it was our desire to release the Pointe Vista Development contract as quickly as possible,” the agency said in a written response to The Oklahoman.

Pointe Vista agreed to let the contract be released to the public “because it was the right thing to do,” the developer said in a statement.

Waiting for progress

Weintz said the governor is frustrated that Pointe Vista has stalled and is working to see the progress at Lake Texoma.

“Governor Fallin has instructed her staff and relevant state agencies to work within the confines of the law to support progress at Lake Texoma and ensure local communities and the state of Oklahoma can benefit from this great natural resource,” Weintz said. “She shares the frustration of local residents who want to see movement and progress, and she is doing everything in her power to break the current logjam.”

The Tourism Department, in a statement, expressed similar frustration.

“Unfortunately due to decisions made by previous administrations — not current state leadership or personnel — the state has little recourse,” the department said. “Nevertheless, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and Commissioners of the Land Office are pressing forward, trying to find both short- and long-term resolutions to this protracted and difficult situation.”

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by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Univerisity of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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