OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen filed a countersuit Tuesday to the State of Oklahoma’s lawsuit filed in April. In that lawsuit, they allege the company never let the state inspect their financial records and that they “violated promises and obligations” and are in breach of contract.
The well over 50-page countersuit from Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen entails five claims. All of them point at Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration, Matt Pinnell and the State Tourism Department, and they didn’t hold back.
The countersuit fires back at the state’s lawsuit against them. It stated that it “merely seeks to pass the blame onto Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen for in-state political bickering and sensationalism.” The suit added that “the state will happily throw its private business partners under the bus at the slightest hint of negative political sensationalism and rhetoric.”
It gives five claims against the state and details the company’s dealings with them. One of them includes business disparagement and defamation. It claims the state “deliberately, willfully, and maliciously engaged in a smear campaign against Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen.”
The lawsuit said it was late 2019 when the state approached the Swadley family to turn “neglected, dilapidated and frankly embarrassing restaurants at the state parks into first class facilities.”
It also states the family was originally reluctant, having not done a project of that size before. But they jumped in as the state insisted, saying it would be a good thing because “the state would absorb all construction costs, provide management fees, absorb operational losses and provide advertising.”
The pictures in the lawsuit show the state park buildings well before construction began. The lawsuit claims that Gov. Kevin Stitt, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and the Tourism Department were all aware of the problems there. The lawsuit added several pages of text messages from top state officials claiming micromanagement of the project down to the “smallest detail,” like what would be placed on the restaurant tables.
It also included a picture of Stitt with Brent Swadley at one of the restaurants.
“I do not have any sort of relationship with Brent Swadley. I don’t know Brent Swadley,” Stitt said at a news conference in the past, announcing the state’s lawsuit against Swadley’s company.
Lastly, the lawsuit argues that it wasn’t until all the work was done and the “cost became a political hot potato…” for the state that they “decided to pass the buck onto Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen.”
The company is also suing a former employee and whistleblower. They claim he’s a disgruntled former employee who was sued by a related Swadley’s entity last year.
We reached out to the governor’s office for comment, but we did not get a response.