Disclosure of personal conflicts of interest of Urban Renewal Commissioners is governed by Title 11, Section 38-118 of the Oklahoma Statutes. That statute categorically prohibits the voluntary acquisition of any personal interest, direct or indirect, in an urban renewal project. Certain other potential conflicts must be disclosed to the Urban Renewal Authority and the municipal governing body.

Contrary to the statement in the article, state law does not require the Urban Renewal Authority to file conflict of interest forms with the secretary of state’s office. Nor does the law require the filing of any form when there is no conflict of interest.

A 1999 attorney general’s opinion involving a similar statute governing public trusts specifically states that a “public trust has no duty imposed to prepare and file” the conflict of interest form if no conflict of interest has occurred during a reporting period. That statute makes secretary of state’s office the recipient of such records for public trusts, while the statute governing the Urban Renewal Authority (which is not a public trust) makes the municipal governing body the recipient of such records for the Urban Renewal Authority.

As legal counsel for the Urban Renewal Authority, I can assure your readers that the Urban Renewal Authority has fully complied with its obligations to avoid any prohibited conflict of interest and to disclose all required information. None of the commissioners has a prohibited conflict of interest.

Had your reporter contacted the Urban Renewal Authority, we would have been happy to provide the information so the error could have been avoided.

—Leslie V. Batchelor
Oklahoma City
Batchelor is associate general counsel for the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority.

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