Black Mesa Land War Ends In District Court
KSCB News - February 29, 2012 8:37 am
CIMARRON COUNTY — A long-standing legal battle over some 700 acres around Black Mesa, near Kenton, Oklahoma, has ended in District Court, Cimarron County.
On Feb. 8, 2012, the Honorable Judge Kincannon issued his written ruling upholding the Sheriff’s Sale of property previously owned by Cimarron River Ranch.
The property was sold at the Sheriff’s Sale on April 14, 2010, because the owner had a dispute with the State of Oklahoma over leased lands. The state alleged that the owner, Cimarron River Ranch, did not pay the lease payments. Reggie Whitten was the high bidder.
According to Judge Kincannon’s order, the Sheriff’s Sale was valid and a purported mortgage that was filed after the sale was not legally binding.
The former land owner, Cimarron River Ranch, also sued Mr. Whitten for trespass. The Court ruled in Mr. Whitten’s favor on this claim as well.
Cimarron River Ranch still has a claim for damages against the State and the Commissioner of Land Office. The Court ruled that this claim must be pursued in Oklahoma County.
Mr. Whitten’s lawyer, Brandon Nichols, said the following: “We are happy with the Court’s ruling. Mr. Whitten should never have been sued in the first place. He was an innocent purchaser at a Sheriff’s Sale. It could have been anybody that bought the land. It just happened to be Mr. Whitten because he is involved in several charities that take kids on science expeditions and that is primarily why he was interested in purchasing the property in the first place. He was not involved in any way with the dispute between Cimarron River Ranch and the State of Oklahoma, which had been going on since 2005. The law is very clear that if Cimarron River Ranch has a claim, it would be against the State rather than an innocent purchaser at a land sale.”