TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa County judge on Wednesday vacated a former state lawmaker's purchase of property at a sheriff's sale.
Similar purchases made by Chad Stites and his real estate company could be affected by District Judge Gregory Frizzell's ruling.
The ruling pertains to a house in northeast Tulsa that Stites appraised while working for Sheriff Stanley Glanz before it went to auction.
Records show that Stites and two other sheriff's appraisers valued the house at $21,000 in May 2001. A month later, Stites' company, Real Property Dynamics, purchased the house at a sheriff's auction for $18,500.
State law bars appraisers from buying property they appraise for sheriff's auctions.
Frizzell's order says Chad Stites personally paid for the property that was purchased by his company.
Stites has said he did nothing to manipulate the appraisals and that he was unaware of the law. He lost his House District 71 seat to Democrat Roy McClain during the November general election.
Ty Stites, Stites' brother and attorney, noted that while Frizzell voided sale, ``the judge did not make any finding that Chad Stites was guilty of actual fraud.''
Ty Stites and Bank One, which had foreclosed on the mortgage, argued that the sale was not fraudulent. Real Property Dynamics purchased the house during a public auction for an appropriate value, they argued.
But during a hearing last month, Frizzell questioned a lawyer for Bank One about an earlier appraisal of the property in which the property was valued at $50,000, more than twice the amount the sheriff's appraisers placed on the property.
The house must be sold again at a sheriff's auction and Bank One must reimburse Stites for the purchase he made, Frizzell said.