OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A community ball field’s future hangs in the balance. While the park is fetching a pretty penny on the real estate market, one group claims fraud is afoot.
It’s a sports staple on the south side of the metro.
Albert Neece is president of the Central Oklahoma Optimist Club, a local leg of a nationwide nonprofit, that’s run Davis Ballpark practically since its inception.
“Lot of kids have grown up here playing ball, and their parents have grown up playing ball,” he explained. “It’s been a ballpark since 1969. It was built, donated to the community and it’s always been ran by a board.”
But a fight over ownership and the future of the field, has players and parents crying foul.
Our story picks up in 2011. Davis Ballpark was in need of serious repair.
So Tim Wofford and two colleagues got to work bringing the park up to par.
“The grass was, I’d say, shoulder height. I was like, ‘What happened out here,'” said Tim. “We started the new Southside Optimist Club of Oklahoma City.”
Previous club members handed the reins over to the new Optimist Club.
Partners Tim Wofford, Brandon Davis and Adam Davis got to work.
As baseball picked back up, the park attracted local standouts who’d go on to play in college and even the pros.
“It’s a great location to service a bunch of different communities,” said Tim.
But around 2016, things took a turn.
As the games went on, Davis Ballpark was silently for sale.
It was ultimately sold by the Optimist Club, a sale that was approved by then president Adam Davis, to a company called Turtlestone LLC.
The deed though had a stipulation. The field was to continue to be used as playing fields.
Nearly 20-acres, worth north of $160,000 today, was sold for only $3,000.
Optimist members say they had no idea the sale happened.
In fact, some say they soon found their Optimist memberships were void.
“I kept writing my dues, have to pay yearly dues and fees,” said Albert. “Then come to find out [Adam Davis] was never cashing my checks.”
“Optimist says I’m no longer a member of the club,” said Tim. “I’ve been removed by the president, and I was never notified.”
As issues persisted, Albert says Adam relinquished control and a new Optimist club took over, known today as the Central Oklahoma Optimist Club.
Meanwhile, Turtlestone LLC was in court quieting the title and removing the stipulation that the field remain a ballpark.
Albert and Tim say the only Optimist member who knew this was taking place was former president Adam Davis, or his family.
“Basically no one showed up for the Southside Optimist Club,” said Brett Burch, an attorney who’s representing those trying to stop the ballpark sale. “So, the judge gave [Turtlestone] a default judgement.”
Now, nearly five years later, a court battle is underway.
A handful of people are suing Adam Davis, Turtlestone LLC, and Home Creations LLC, to stop an alleged sale of the field.
Home Creations sent our team the following statement: “Home Creations is not involved in the purchase of Davis Ballpark. The inclusion of Home Creations in the lawsuit was based on an erroneous assumption by the Plaintiff. Home Creations is working closely with its legal team in order to have its name removed from the present litigation.”
That $3,000 purchase is now being sold on Zillow for $1.2 million.
“Real estate group came out and they said, ‘We’re looking at the park to buy,'” said Albert. “We said, ‘Well, it’s not for sale.’ They said, ‘No, no it’s for sale.'”
Court documents lay out Adam Davis’ defense. He claims the decision to sell was made by the Optimist Club and that he should not be included in the suit.
But in all the documents we found, including a document where the group was dissolved to make way for the sale, it appears the only votes were by Adam and his wife.
Also, the suite claims Adam Davis and Turtlestone President Wallace Stark are brothers-in-law.
We spoke with Wallace Stark to get his side, but he said he couldn’t comment due to the lawsuit.
Adam Davis told us it wasn’t he who sold the field, it was the Optimist Club.
“[Adam Davis] sold a piece of property that wasn’t his to sell,” Burch told our team.
“I think it’s a scam,” said Albert. “I believe they had that in mind the whole time. I think they had a plan.”
As the lawsuit plays out, the teams will play on, waiting for the courts to decide the future of their fields.
The real estate company allegedly buying the park has come out claiming they’re not involved.
According to Zillow though, there is a pending sale of the field to an unnamed party.
We’ll check back.