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Owasso City Council Discusses Project Denials In Special Meeting

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Crowd gathered at Owasso city council meeting. Crowd gathered at Owasso city council meeting.
"It's silly for them to make any tie between any issues Rodney has and the approval of this plan," said developer David Charney. "It's silly for them to make any tie between any issues Rodney has and the approval of this plan," said developer David Charney.
But J.B. Alexander, a leader of the Owasso Taxpayers Alliance, said it's up to Ray to settle the dispute. But J.B. Alexander, a leader of the Owasso Taxpayers Alliance, said it's up to Ray to settle the dispute.
Owasso city council meeting Owasso city council meeting
OWASSO, Oklahoma -

A dispute between a taxpayer's group and Owasso's city manager has stopped several multi-million dollar projects in town.

The taxpayer's group claims the city manager might be getting some kind of preferential treatment from a big landowner involved in the deals.

He denies it, the developer denies it, and so does everyone involved in the process, but two city councilors don't believe it and they've have managed to stop the projects.

There's progress almost everywhere in Owasso, including a plan for a new animal hospital, and another plan to add 40 new homes to the nearby Maple Glen subdivision. But, for now, those new projects and a new hotel are on hold.

City Councilors Charlie Brown and Patrick Ross voted against the projects, stopping them, while they question connections between the landowner, The Owasso Land Trust and City Manager Rodney Ray.

"This is a political revenge kind of issue; petty politics at the local level," Ray said.

Friday the full council went over the projects and how they were approved.

City staff said it had nothing to do with the city manager. His connection to the land trust is that they are the landlord for a family business. One of the principals of the land trust said it was ridiculous to imply something sinister.

"It's silly for them to make any tie between any issues Rodney has and the approval of this plan," said developer David Charney.

The crowded room was divided between Ray's detractors and supporters, and those who didn't think the projects should be held hostage regardless.

Shawn Reiss has sold homes in the subdivision projects, and he's lost two contracts over the city council vote.

"They chose political grandstanding over the merits of the case," Reiss said.

Owasso City Attorney Julie Lombardi put councilors on notice that turning down projects that meet every legal requirement leaves the city open to a lawsuit they would lose.

But J.B. Alexander, a leader of the Owasso Taxpayers Alliance, said it's up to Ray to settle the dispute.

"I think, if Mr. Ray was to clarify his personal financial dealings with OLT, to the satisfaction of Councilors Brown and Ross, we would absolutely support those projects getting back before the city council," Alexander said.

A majority of the council supports the projects, but the vote to turn them down was taken when not everyone was there.

The full council can't reconsider the vote until at least May. Meanwhile, the city says lawyers are calling to talk about legal action over the cost of the delay.

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