October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30

LAW REVIEW
misappropriated if the sale of the
restricted park land occurred; and
(3) the sales price was so low and
other considerations so minimal,
that it would result in an unconstitutional
gift by the TPFA and the
City to the private developer.
Taxpayers also alleged actual
abandonment of Tract A of the
park had not occurred and that the
$570,000 to be paid to the private
developer would be an illegal expenditure.
All
parties moved for summary
judgment in the trial court in January
2018. In April 2018, the trial court
granted the TPFA and the City's
joint motion for summary judgment
as to all issues without stating the
grounds to support its decision and
denied the Taxpayers' motion for
summary judgment. Taxpayers appealed
the trial court's order granting
summary judgment in favor of the
TPFA and the City. The state supreme
court granted appeal.
Summary judgment would only
be appropriate when there is no
genuine controversy as to any
material fact, and the moving
party (in this case, TPFA and the
City) was entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.
Summary judgment would only
be appropriate when there is no
genuine controversy as to any material
fact, and the moving party
(in this case, TPFA and the City)
was entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.
Taxpayer Standing
On appeal, the state supreme court
30 Parks & Recreation | O CTOBER 2 0 2 1
first considered whether the Taxpayers
had " standing as citizens
and taxpayers to bring this action
in equity to challenge the prospective
unauthorized
expenditure
of funds. " As noted by the court:
Standing refers to a person's legal
right to seek relief in a judicial forum.
Moreover, to establish standing
a person must possess " a legally
protected interest. " Under Oklahoma
law, the state supreme court
recognized the right of a taxpayer
to " challenge illegal taxation or expenditure
of public funds. " In this
case, TPFA and the City claimed
the sale of real property did not
constitute the expenditure of public
funds.
The state supreme court, however,
found a taxpayer also would
have standing to challenge " the
prospective unauthorized expenditure
of public funds or a prospective
unauthorized act related to public
funds, " which would include the
sale of real property. In addition,
the court found the Taxpayers had
standing based on their claim, alleging
" the $570,000 in City funds
to be paid to the private developer
would be an illegal expenditure. "
Sale of Public Trust Land
On appeal, the Taxpayers claimed
" TPFA and the City cannot sell
Tract A of the Park to the private
developer because the land is held
in a public trust for the use and
benefit of its citizens as a public
park. " As noted by the state supreme
court, " the common law
public trust doctrine is well established
in Oklahoma " and subject to
the following " general rule " :
[M]unicipal property held in
a governmental capacity, which
is for public use, cannot be sold
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
without special legislative authority
unless the public use has been
abandoned or the property has become
unsuited for continued use.
Accordingly, since this particular
parcel of parkland was " held in a
public trust for the use and benefit
of its citizens, " the City and the
TPFA could not sell the parkland
absent a finding " the [parkland]
has been lawfully abandoned and/
or unfit for its particular purpose. "
Further, the court recognized the
following general legal principle
that a municipal corporation holds
property in two distinct capacities:
There is a clear distinction,
recognized by practically all
authorities,
between property
purchased and held by municipal
corporations for the use of the
corporation as an entity, and
that purchased and held by such
corporation for the public use and
benefit of its citizens.
For property acquired for strictly
corporate uses and purposes, the
court acknowledged " the power of
the corporation to dispose of it is
unquestioned. " On the other hand,
the
court
found
power to dispose
the municipal
of property
dedicated to public use is limited to
circumstances in which " the public
use has been abandoned, or the
property has become unsuitable
or inadequate for the purpose to
which it was dedicated. "
In this particular instance, TPFA
and the City had argued the City's
charter, the City's amended charter
and other statutory provisions provided
" general power to sell Tract
A of Helmerich Park. " The state
supreme court rejected this argument:
First,
the park land is held by
the TPFA, a public trust, for the

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 52
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 53
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com