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City scheduled for mediation over U-Haul parking lot legal battle

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City Council members deferred their meeting Tuesday over ongoing litigation regarding a downtown U-Haul parking lot.

The City of Oklahoma City v. Twenty-Three Sac Self-Storage, Corporation was filed October 2017 in District Court. The city is trying to acquire property used as a U-Haul storage facility and owned by the Twenty-Three Sac Storage Corp. for the extension of Oklahoma Avenue from Reno Avenue to Oklahoma City Boulevard after years of failed negotiations.

The council was expected to meet with their attorney Tuesday during an executive session regarding an upcoming mediation scheduled for May 8 before mediator Kelly Monaghan. According to the agenda, the council would have received “confidential communications” at Monday’s executive session.

However, the meeting was deferred due to the arts festival.

So far, no commissioners have been selected in the case. Kristy Yager, public information officer for the city of Oklahoma City, said commissioners would be responsible for looking at the property in question and determine a fair price.

However, Yager told News 4 on Tuesday the city has been hoping to come to a settlement and avoid court all together.

According to the lawsuit originally filed in October, the city has already offered to purchase the property but “the Defendant has refused to accept the consideration offered and have refused to grant, sell or convey the fee simple title required by the Plaintiff."

We spoke with U-Haul area vice-president Brett Hogan in October. He told us the city offered more than $1 million to move the parking to an empty lot west of its entrance; however, he said it would actually cost the company just under $5 million.

“The showroom has to be moved from the east side of the property to the west side of the property," Hogan said in a past interview. "There's an elevation change that we have to deal with. There's utilities on the west side."

More than a month after the city filed the lawsuit, Twenty-Three Sac Self-Storage Corporation filed an objection to appoint commissioners citing it was “premature and not proper at this time.”

The company alleges the city failed to comply with the basic condemnation procedures before the case, claiming their petition “incorrectly implies that this is a total take of the Subject Property (as that term is defined in the Petition) when in fact, it is a partial taking with substantial damages to the remainder.”

Kristine Campbell, a member of U-Haul’s legal staff, told us Tuesday the purpose of the mediation in May is to find a mutually-agreed solution. If a compromise is not reached, a trial is possible.

The city council is now expected to meet on May 1 for executive session regarding the case prior to the May 8 mediation.

The city of Oklahoma City is represented by Assistant Municipal Counselors, David Brummitt and Amanda Carpenter. Twenty-Three Sac Self-Storage is represented by Jeff Todd with McAfee & Taft, P.C.