OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – New questions have come up following Swadley’s countersuit to the state involving former deputy director of tourism Gino Demarco.
A news article from local publication The Frontier details Demarco’s dealings in a marina development at Lake Murray State Park, while also buying land nearby.
All those things mentioned above were going on. Page 36 in Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen’s lawsuit details Demarco and top state employees directed Swadley’s on the dredging at Lake Murray.
That page in the countersuit also shows a text message from Demarco mentioning a dredging at Lake Murray. In it he said they would “have to get a dredging permit but it will be easy…” and that someone was working on it. This took place as the state was working with Swadley’s to get their restaurants put into state parks including at Lake Murray.
The article from The Frontier also states around this same time Demarco “has access to information about a new marina development at Lake Murray State Park that wasn’t yet public and participated in talks about the scope of the project while also planning his own nearby business venture.”
Also, in February 2020, that same article states Demarco bought 26 acres of land near Lake Murray State Park for nearly $700,000 to plan a development there. That new marina opened in May 2021. That’s the same year Demarco sold the land he bought, and in The Frontier article, Demarco said he bought it to “increase the property value by doing development on it.”
KFOR went to Demarco’s home twice Wednesday to try and get clarification on the timeline of the dredging directed by him and other state officials and of the other ventures mentioned by The Frontier. However, no one answered the door both times. We also reached out by phone call and text. We never received a response to those either.
It should be noted that Demarco claims to have recused himself from activities dealing with the new marina since he bought land near the state park. KFOR also reached out to the tourism department for a timeline of that dredging and its location. They said they are inundated right now, but will process our request as quickly as they can.