POSTED ON JUNE 1, 2011:
Mayoral Ouster Attempt Ongoing
It's been two months since District 7 City Councilor John Eagleton sent more than 1,800 signed affidavits to the office of Attorney General Scott Pruitt seeking an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr., and Eagleton continues to await word on whether his effort will lead to action against the mayor.
In March, Eagleton outlined a series of allegations against Bartlett that he believes have left the mayor unfit to continue serving as the city's chief executive, including claims that Bartlett received money not allowed for by law, lied to the City Council, and solicited and assisted individuals to file lawsuits against the city.
Eagleton said he could not address the specifics of the status of his ouster attempt against the mayor, but he was willing to explain how the process might unfold in generic terms. He said once the attorney general had examined the affidavits and determined at least 1,100 were legitimate, as required under law, he would be compelled to initiate an investigation into Eagleton's claims.
If, after he completed that investigation, he determined there were sufficient basis for action, the attorney general would have the right to file an ouster petition in Tulsa County District Court or at the state Supreme Court, Eagleton said. That petition would be fast tracked and would be heard on the next available docket, he said, meaning it would not languish for weeks or even months before action was taken on it.
Eagleton emphasized he had no knowledge of whether that might ultimately be the case in this instance, and he noted the decision about whether to file an ouster petition would rest with Pruitt.
"He has wide discretion in that area," Eagleton said.
At least one of the allegations included in Eagleton's ouster attempt has been found to have merit. A recently issued report by new City Auditor Clift Richards found the mayor violated the city's ethics policy by accepting free legal services from Tulsa attorney Joel Wohlgemuth, who was representing the city in another matter at the same time.
But a letter from Wohlgemuth written on Bartlett's behalf that was sent to the city's Ethics Advisory Committee on May 20 disputes that finding, claiming, among other things, that the auditor's interpretation of the city's ethics code is entirely unreasonable and impractical. The mayor is seeking a review of the auditor's findings by the committee.
Plans Approved for New Brewery
Having recently earned approval of their application for federal tax credits, the owners of a planned brewery, restaurant and events center in Sand Springs are now moving ahead with securing the financing for their project with an eye toward beginning renovation work this summer.
Ken Alexander, founder and CEO of the SpringLoaded Brewery at 221 St. Main St., said the project's application for the federal tax credits was approved by the National Park Service as expected on April 28, a trigger that allows him to move forward with securing the financing necessary to complete the 30,000-square-foot, $5.5 million project. He said federal officials also approved the renovation plans for the project, which is located in the old Sand Springs Power, Light & Water Building. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
"That's a big piece of the puzzle," he said of the federal approval of the tax credits and the renovation plans. "It was a great relief."
Alexander said he hopes to begin construction within the next few weeks. He has said previously the build-out for the brewery portion of the project is expected to take four and a half months, while the restaurant would take five and a half to six months.
"If we can get started by July, I still think we can get the brewery open by the end of the year," he said.
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