Attorney says MAPS 3 ballot is unconstitutional, threatens legal challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City attorney is threatening to file a legal challenge to the $750 million dollar MAPS 3 initiative that is currently in the works. In 2009, voters approved the plans.

Now, an Oklahoma City attorney says MAPS 3 is unconstitutional and has threatened the city with legal action.

The Civic Center, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Bricktown Canal and the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark were built with MAPS 1 money.

However, the first MAPS ballot, which was passed in 1993, would be illegal today.

That legality issue is why the MAPS 3 ballot was drawn up differently over 15 years later.

The ballot featured an all up or down proposition that did not feature specific projects, but that could also be unconstitutional.

David Slane, a local attorney, said, “We don’t want to stop progress but we have to do it right.”

Slane says he’s not opposed to a new central park, convention center or river improvements in MAPS 3.

However, he says forcing people at the polls in 2009 to vote on eight different projects with a single up or down vote may have been illegal.

Slane said, “Our hope is we can resubmit it to voters in a way that would make it legal.”

Ed Shadid, Oklahoma City councilman, said, “I believe the people were misled.”

The legal debate began after Shadid questioned the passage of MAPS 3 at this week’s council meeting.

“I support MAPS but I don’t support deception,” said Shadid.  “People should have to the ability to vote on the projects individually.”

The fight over the MAPS 3 ballot language is nothing new.

Back in 2009,  Brian Walters, who was a member of the city council at the time, questioned the language.

The mayor defended the ballot at the time.

Mayor Mick Cornett said, “It is illegal to do it the way we did it in 1993 so this structure is as close as we could get to that.”

City Manager Jim Couch said, “We are confident nothing was done wrong.”

Slane has asked to meet with city leaders.

He says if that doesn’t happen, he will file the case with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.