North Tulsan Sues TCC in Eminent Domain Dispute

Tuesday, July 14th 2009, 4:25 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Howell,

TULSA, OK -- Debbie Hampton was forced off her ten-acre property in North Tulsa this week and she's not happy about it.

Her storage shed was carefully removed as was her home, leaving nothing but the foundations.

"Tulsa Community College is taking it by eminent domain," said Hampton, "so I had to buy other property and move my house and my shop."

Debbie balked at the initial offer for her property located on the 4000 block of East Apache Street, just to the east of the Tulsa Community College Northeast campus.

She said the amount offered by the college didn't match replacement costs for her acreage.

"I was able to afford five acres, not ten," said Hampton, "I had to move my house and my shop at my expense, I've got a $10,000 slab that my shop was sitting on that I'm not reimbursed for. They paid my neighbors ten times what they offered me. Oh, yeah it make me angry, it's not fair."

Hampton says she's aware of the college's ability to move her out through exercising eminent domain, but she is also aware of her rights.

"I looked it up on the internet and I know enough about it to say--yes you will take my property if you want it.  But you will pay me for it," said Hampton.

And she acknowledges the risk of losing more money in the legal battle she says she is preparing to fight.

"It's a risk you take.  I didn't fix up and clean up over there, I didn't build up something for over ten years-twelve years, just to have someone come in and offer me a pittance of what it's worth."

Tulsa Community College representatives released this official comment:

'Tulsa Community College began acquiring property adjacent to its Northeast Campus approximately three years ago as part of a plan with the City of Tulsa.  TCC is acquiring property for the construction of a voter-approved fire training center for joint use by the City of Tulsa Fire Department and the TCC Fire Safety Training program.  TCC has now acquired the entire tract which consists of the 40 acres needed for the project.

TCC has made every effort with each property owner to offer fair market value for their land.  In general, acquisition for the property went smoothly and TCC met owner estimates of their property value where it correlated with available real estate information.  On three properties, condemnation proceedings were initiated after repeated attempts to negotiate settlements were unsuccessful. Condemnation is an avenue available to public entities to obtain property necessary for a public use.

The property in question was appraised by three court-appointed commissioners.  TCC paid to the court the amount ruled by the commissioners.'