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Homes Coming Down To Make Way For Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike
News Channel 4 (KFOR) ^ | October 28, 2016 | Sarah Stewart

Posted on 11/09/2016 7:56:29 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

OKLAHOMA CITY--The 1600 square foot home on S.E. 15th came crashing down in a matter of minutes.

It was demolished on Monday to make way for the new Eastern Oklahoma County turnpike.

“It happened because they were ignorant of their rights and were victimized by the state,” said Steve Maguire.

Maguire helped start Victims of Eminent Domain Fund, a non-profit dedicated to telling the stories of homeowners in that part of the county and stopping the turnpike from coming through.

He says the owners of the home on S.E. 15th were told false things by the people acquiring the property for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

“That if you don’t take this, next time around, it’s going to be even less,” said Maguire. “They were told you don’t need a lawyer, we’ll just help you through this.”

Maguire does not think the couple received fair market value for their home and he’s working to make sure it doesn’t happen again, printing up thousands of flyers informing homeowners in the area of their rights.

“That’s part of swindling. If people are ignorant of their rights, it’s easier to swindle them,” said Maguire.

Jack Damrill is the spokesperson for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

“We’re not out there swindling people. Obviously we’re doing everything by the book. That’s how we operate,” said Damrill.

Damrill says two houses came down on Monday.

Final negotiations had already been completed.

The Turnpike Authority owned them and they didn’t want to leave them sitting vacant.

He says they’ve only acquired a few more so far.

“I think for the most part those who we have negotiated with will say that we’ve been fair in our negotiations,” said Damrill.

Eric Groves is the attorney hired by Victims of Eminent Domain.

He says homeowners need help navigating the complicated process of eminent domain.

“To engage in a transaction like that without counsel is very foolish,” he said.

Groves says the Turnpike Authority should not scare homeowners into taking an offer.

“It’s their duty to say you don’t have to take this offer. You can have a jury trial if you want one,” said Groves.

“We’re trying to get the word out to these people that they have rights and if they don’t know what they are, they’re going to get taken,” said Maguire.

Maguire hopes to have his flyers, along with a memo from Groves, mailed out to all residents in the area by next week.

Damrill says the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has halted acquiring any more property until certain legal issues have been decided.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Oklahoma
KEYWORDS: 5thamendment; construction; eminentdomain; infrastructure; oklahoma; oklahomacity; oklahomacounty; oklahomaturnpike; transportation

1 posted on 11/09/2016 7:56:29 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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