Broken Arrow Mayor Resigns Post Over Red Clay Casino Controversy
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - Broken Arrow Mayor Mike Lester announced Tuesday morning he has resigned as mayor, but will be keeping his seat as Ward 3 city councilor.
Lester came under scrutiny about what and when he knew about the Kialegee Tribal Town's plans to build the Red Clay Casino.
According to testimony at an injunction hearing in federal court in mid-May, Lester knew about the casino much earlier than the city claimed. According to testimony from Miami, Florida-based developer and attorney Luis Figueredo, the meeting took place in February of 2011.
Lester maintains the lunch meeting was nothing more than an informal discussion with a family friend.
Mike Lester released the following statement:
"It is my opinion that the office of the mayor is a position, and not a person. So to that end, I will remove myself from the office of Mayor. I do not want the many good things occurring in Broken Arrow to be overshadowed by the recent events related to the proposed casino. From my perspective, the lunch with Ms. Giles was nothing more than an informal discussion with a family friend, but I feel it's in the best interest of the city that I step aside from my post as mayor. I love this city and will continue to serve not only the residents of ward 3, but the entire City of Broken Arrow as I have done over the past 30 years."
Lester has been mayor since 2009.
Vice Mayor Craig Thurmond takes over for Lester, and the city council will elect a new Vice Mayor at its next meeting.