County Purchases Jail Land, Commissioner Faces Ethics Questions

In a 2-1 split vote Monday, Oklahoma County Commissioners agreed to move forward with purchasing land near Del City being eyed for a new jail and mental health facility for $5 million.

Tuesday, June 11th 2024, 4:34 pm

By: Storme Jones, News 9


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In a 2-1 split vote Monday, Oklahoma County Commissioners agreed to move forward with purchasing land near Del City being eyed for a new jail and mental health facility for $5 million.

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During public comment, residents including Del City Mayor Floyd Eason and Mid-Del School Board Member Gina Standridge called on County Commissioner Myles Davidson to recuse himself from the vote to buy the land.

Amid the full-court press to stop the jail site from moving forward, opponents are highlighting a $2,900 campaign donation made by Garrett William, a co-owner of the property at 1901 East Grand Blvd, to Davidson in 2022.

“If we had to recuse ourselves on every vote that we make, at the legislature, we’d never make a vote,” Davidson told reporters after joining Commissioner Brian Maughan in voting in favor of the purchase agreement Monday.

Public comments also highlighted Davidson’s campaign ethics reports that appear to show donations after the 2022 election over the $2,900 allowed by state law. Davidson said a company hired to file the reports is working through amending them.

“They didn’t list spouses,” Davidson said. “They just listed a single person in the household instead of the spouses, but once the amended one is put forward it’ll be all 100% correct and then will close it out and move on for there.”

Davidson acknowledged there could be repercussions for what he called errors in the reporting.

“If there are fines, we pay those. But we’re still going to correct it no matter what,” he said.

Del City Mayor Eason said Tuesday he, Gina Standridge, and Rep. Andy Fugate (D-Del City) were in the final stages before circulating a petition calling for a grand jury investigation into Davidson’s campaign finance discrepancies.

Public comments Monday also peppered Davidson with questions surrounding text messages, obtained by Standridge through an open records request, between Davidson and his county oversight committee appointee Xavier Neira. Davidson’s office later shared those messages with News 9.

One message focused on efforts to win Oklahoma City Council approval to rezone the site. Davidson and Neira discussed a lack of support by City Councilor Todd Stone.

“I cannot honestly try to help recruit business to his ward if he is asking other councilmen to vote with him,” Davidson said in a January message. “I am working on a 150,000 to 500,000 square foot cold storage project… but I can take those jobs elsewhere if he doesn’t see the bigger picture.”

In May, the city council ultimately voted 7-to-1 against the proposal, with Mayor David Holt being the only vote in favor. Stone voted against the proposal.

In another text message, Davidson discusses the lack of electoral consequences for moving forward with the location. “Election turnout numbers for the 1-mile radius are abysmal,” Davidson’s text said. “Chamber has done the math.”

The two also discussed an upcoming meeting between County Commissioner Brian Maughan and the Oak Creek Schools Superintendent. Davidson’s text appears to say of Maughan, “It was a very calculated and cowardly move.”

“I talked to my appointee on a regular basis,” Davidson told reporters Monday. “I talk to appointees on every board on a regular basis so they know my feelings and I know their feelings and we work together on these things.”

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