By Investigative Reporter Ed Snook
January 3, 2012
EDITOR'S NOTE: Oklahoma County District Judge Twyla Mason Gray died Monday, Oct. 3, 2011, but her failed rulings and prison sentences - which she imposed on innocent individuals - live-on and continue to inflict damage.
Cimarron County, Oklahoma - In 2005, in Boise City, Oklahoma, Samuel Parker, manager of Cimarron River Ranch L.L.C. (CRR) and then ranch manager Roy Young, successfully bid on 24,000 acres of cattle grazing land managed by OK Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) and agreed to pay $273,600.00 per year for the grazing rights.
These grazing leases were taken from local ranchers whose families had held them for generations at historically low rental rates of $1.50 - $2.50 per-acre per-year range, where Parker paid in the $9.00 per-acre range, an indication that an artificially low rental rate was being perpetuated by the CLO, allowing several large local area ranchers to lease public land for amounts well below market rates.
The Parker’s were reportedly threatened by local ranchers and told by Keith Kuhlman, then director of real estate management for the CLO, "we will be watching you through a magnifying glass."
Kuhlman then proceeded to re-configure large portions of Parker's leases, trading much of the bottom land that had water on it to neighboring ranchers, who's leases had been taken by Parker, leaving hundreds of other acres land-locked, that Parker could not access for grazing.
Parker opted to give those leases back at the end of the year, which was within his rights under the lease terms if it was re-configured. The CLO refused to take the leases back - Parker refused paying rent and sued the CLO for violation of the leases.
In May, 2009, the CLO was awarded summary judgment against CRR for $524,000.00 in rents by the notoriously corrupt Judge Twyla Gray, who was said to not have even read CRR's complaint before ruling. CRR appealed Gray’s ruling.
With CRR's appeal pending, the CLO gave direction to Cimarron County Sheriff Keith Borth to execute on the judgment and seize possession of the CRR ranch, which they reportedly did without warning. According to witnesses, they evicted ranch manager Roy Young from the premises without notice, on threat of jail and seized all his guns.
Young was not able to round up all his cattle within the short time given him. Sheriff Borth and Randy Schriener, field representative for the CLO reportedly assured him strays would be gathered up and held for him to pick up. They were allegedly gathered up and penned without food or water and let starve to death. When Young filed a complaint with Borth for cruelty to animals, Borth allegedly refused to investigate or prosecute those responsible, which allegedly included CLO field representative Randy Schriener and himself. The Humane Society in OK City, after initially committing to investigate and prosecute, would not return any phone calls and the district attorney for Cimarron County didn’t return any of Young's many phone calls concerning the matter.
CRR's ranch was sold at auction on April 14, 2010, despite CRR's request to await the pending appeal, which is customary. Personal items of the Parker family were also reportedly seized, including dishes, clothing and other keepsakes and put in an open field and auctioned off, despite affidavits signed by the Parkers stating they were personal and not owned by CRR. Judge Twyla Gray allowed the auction to go forward. Some of the items auctioned were irreplaceable.
Reggie Whitten, attorney for the Whitten/Newman Foundation and of the Whitten/ Burrage Law Firm in OK City was the high bidder. It is alleged by credible sources that although no monies were deposited with the court clerk, he began to assert his ownership of the ranch.
Notes filed against the ranch property by Parker's father James Parker in excess of one million dollars, lent for development of the ranch, legally prohibited Whitten from acquiring clear title, according to US~Observer legal experts.
On October 15, 2010, the OK Court of Civil appeals found District Judge Twyla Gray erred in granting CLO's summary judgment and reversed summary judgment. The OK Supreme Court denied a CLO petition for certiorari and mandate was issued on June 7, 2011. Since the reversal of the CLO's counterclaim, CRR has repeatedly requested the proceeds from the Sheriff's sale and full and complete possession of CRR's ranch be given back, which to date the CLO has refused.
When CRR discovered in late June, 2011, that Whitten had reportedly moved into the ranch house on CRR 's ranch, turned on electricity and began structural renovation of the property, CRR sued Whitten and his brother-in- law Robert Newman for trespass and damages. Whitten reportedly answered by sworn affidavit that he was given permission by the CLO and Sheriff Borth to enter upon CRR property and take possession of it.
On July 28, 2011, after being sued for trespass, Whitten reportedly paid the CLO $420,000.00 - the balance of the purchase price for the ranch at auction and asked for title to CRR's ranch on the now over-turned invalid judgment. The CLO reportedly accepted Whitten's payment on the over-turned judgment and issued a Sheriff's deed to CRR to Whitten on July 28, 2011, signed by Sheriff Keith Borth. Whitten reportedly continues to occupy CRR's ranch.
CRR however, had given a deed in lieu of foreclosure to Belize Land and Development Ltd. Belize, Central America (B.L.&D.) on July 13, 2011, for non-payment of its one-million-plus loan that CRR could not repay B.L.&D.
CRR is currently continuing, through the court in Boise City, OK to assert B.L.& D.'s claim to ownership. They presented their argument for summary judgment against Whitten/Newman before Associate District Judge Ronald Kincannon in August of 2011. Kincannon to date has not ruled on the matter, however he has stated in numerous phone conversations with this reporter over the past few months that he intends to “try and get a ruling out soon.”
When alleged large scale damages to structures on CRR's property were discovered by CRR in the fall of 2011, CRR appealed to Judge Kincannon to stop Whitten until the judge had made his decision. Kincannon reportedly told Whitten that no work was to be done on the property until he made his decision. This reportedly occurred in a verbal restraining order between the CRR’s attorney and Whitten’s attorney in November of 2011.
US~Observer sources have informed us that CRR's attorney subsequently conducted an on-site inspection to confirm Judge Kincannon's order of restraint against Whitten and found large-scale renovation of the property continuing. Kincannon has reportedly refused CRR's attorney's repeated requests for a conference call to Whitten's attorney and refuses to put his restraining order in writing so that it can be enforced.
The CLO in August of 2011, canceled leases held by Roy Young and his business partner Leroy Durham, contiguous to CRR ranch, for overgrazing and has refused to refund the unused portion of the annual rent of $41,000.00. Incidentally, the leases had reportedly not been grazed since February of 2010, when the CLO seized the ranch and the grass was high enough to constitute a fire hazard.
Young and Durham filed suit over their canceled leases in fall 2011, against the CLO.
R.S.J. Investments L.L.C., another Parker family company, filed suit against CLO in January, 2011, over these same leases. When the CLO discovered that R.S.J. was Parker owned, they refused to grant the leases, even after R.S.J. was the successful bidder at auction in October of 2010.
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This ongoing war between CRR and the CLO was featured on the front page of The Oklahoman newspaper in OK City on Sunday March 20, 2011 and again on the front page of the Oklahoman on March 27, 2011 - written by corruption watchdog reporter Randy Ellis ([email protected]).
The US~Observer is currently digging into this case. Reggie Whitten has refused to return our phone calls, which tells us plenty about this “behind the scenes” attorney from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma… Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or email to [email protected]
� 2012 - Edward Snook - All Rights Reserved
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Edward Snook is 20-plus year investigative journalist, with a college major in criminal justice and the publisher of US-Obsrver newspaper. 541-474-7885
E-Mail: [email protected]