EL RENO — A clerical error allowed a county-owned plot of land that houses a volunteer fire department to be sold for $100, possibly jeopardizing the future of the department’s headquarters.
In April, land that houses the Cedar Lake Fire Department was accidentally put up for sale as a tax delinquent property, said District 2 Canadian County Commissioner David Anderson.
“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,” Anderson said.
The land was bought by a man named Howie Sutton, a maintenance employee who works in the same building as the Canadian County commissioner’s office.
Canadian County records show Sutton has bought several Cedar Lake properties in the past two years for prices ranging from $2,000 to $16,000.
No other bids were placed on the property, and Sutton was able to purchase it for $100 in May, Anderson said. He said Sutton has hired an attorney and plans to fight any legal attempts to reclaim the land for the fire department.
A reporter for The Oklahoman tried to speak with Sutton at his place of employment, but he declined to comment.
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, Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse asserted in a petition filed Tuesday. The filing also noted since the property was county-owned it could not have been auctioned for tax delinquency.