Petitions Ask For Owasso City Councilors to Resign
It's a large vacant lot of 2.4 acres, the future site of the Owasso SAHO animal hospital, a future now in limbo.
"Prior to the vote last night we were planning on breaking ground next Wednesday," said Dr. Chris Kelley, his current clinic right across the street. With a staff of 35 they were poised for expansion until a city council vote Tuesday delayed their plans for six months. Questions at the clinic today were about more than just animals.
"If we can't afford to keep going with the payments over here, we hired new staff, are some of us going to lose out jobs?," he said.
"I could not in good conscience approve those projects with the questions nagging at my mind," said Patrick Ross. He's one of the two councilors who put the brakes on the clinic and two other projects due to a letter from the Owasso Land Trust to Owasso's city manager, Rodney Ray.
"This shows a high level of indebtedness, financial obligation between Mr. Ray and the Owasso Land Trust," he said.
The same company, says Ross, that's involved with the three projects now on hold out of concern that something fishy is going on.
"My wife and I had a start-up business, we ran onto some tough times in that business, and we got in a bad position, but we solved it," said Ray.
As to any suspicions that he's used his position to either benefit from or influence matters on behalf of Owasso Land Trust?
"There is absolutely nothing to that and what I think about that is that it's rubbish," said Ray.
Meanwhile Dr. Kelley is caught in the middle of a political skirmish.
"Essentially we've got to continue to pay the interest on the land over there," he said.
Also reeling from the meeting last night?
"Last night was a pretty strong abuse of power," said Shawn Reiss, his neighborhood development now delayed, he wasted no time creating online petitions asking for councilors Ross and Brown to step down.
"It would be better for them to maybe have a little bit of integrity and go ahead and resign," he said.
Adding to the drama, that all of this was sprung last minute, at the meeting. Ross hasn't personally confronted Ray with his concerns. Why?
"I really can't answer that question. I wasn't ready for that. I'm not sure I can formulate one on the run," he said.
"They didn't have the respect for me to call me and say Rodney, what's the deal?," said Ray.
And he's not alone, the vice mayor didn't see it coming either, and the vice mayor is Dr. Kelley.
"The way we're doing now is this, we've got people that just want division, division, division," he said.
*Addendum - Chris Kelley has clarified that the land for their clinic is only related to Owasso Land Trust in that they purchased it from them in 2008.