Tar Creek trust violated meeting act, Oklahoma high court rules

The state Supreme Court said the trust involved in the federal relocation plan for residents of Tar Creek should not have allowed appraisers and the state's secretary of the environment in a closed meeting.

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: June 23, 2010 at 4:26 am •  Published: June 23, 2010
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t they voted 8-1 that the trust violated the Open Meeting Act.

The high court sent the matter back to the district judge to determine whether the meeting violation was willful and whether the minutes and records of the executive session should be made public. The judge also could decide whether the violation was criminal in nature, which could result in a misdemeanor count and a fine or jail time.

Justice James Winchester disagreed with the open meeting violation saying it puts the trust in "an impossible position.”

Previous Supreme Court opinions allowed the trust to rely on attorney general opinions, he wrote. An earlier attorney general opinion said it was up to the public body's members to determine who may be allowed into an executive session, Winchester said.

Strong, as secretary of the environment, has oversight over the trust and the trust had contracted with the appraisal companies to give them advice, he wrote.

Strong said Tuesday he was still reviewing the court ruling, but that he followed the attorney general's opinion on who could attend executive sessions.



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