CITIZENS group sues Tulsa officials for use of eminent domain use

Saturday, May 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A citizens group is accusing the city of Tulsa of being abusive and ``out of control'' and of perverting ``the process of eminent domain'' to take property.

Tulsans Against Destructive and Abusive Government filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, seeking $10 million. The group accuses the city of violating plaintiffs' civil and constitutional rights.

The Rev. Charles O. Williams filed the lawsuit as president of the organization, which claims to have ``incorporation pending.'' More than 300 other people signed as plaintiffs.

Williams could not be reached for comment Friday. City Attorney Martha Rupp Carter said the city had not received the lawsuit and she could not comment.

The organization said it filed a federal lawsuit because it ``feels hopeless and helpless in attempting to defend itself against a corrupt city government, and in some cases the courts, because the courts are so politically and financially connected, that they ... have become money-making machines rather than vehicles for justice.''

The group alleges that the city has not given property owners enough time to repair dilapidated property and has abused its discretion in determining some real estate values.

The lawsuit also accuses the city of failing to maintain fundamental services to people in north Tulsa and unfairly raising taxes and utility bills in the north Tulsa area to get those properties declared dilapidated.

Besides the money, the organization also is asking the federal court to enjoin the city from taking any more land until the suit is settled, and to order the Department of Housing and Urban Development to review all the city's policies and procedures involving land acquisition.

The city of Tulsa, Mayor Susan Savage and the Tulsa City Council are named as defendants. The city's code enforcement office, the Tulsa Development Authority, the Tulsa Airport Authority and the Indian Nation Council of Government also are named as defendants.