Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Textbook Case or an Evil Mire?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Textbook Case or an Evil Mire?

Article excerpt

While attorneys nit-pick over technicalities, Ole Anthony says the lawsuit involving his nonprofit's purchase of low-income housing is thwarting the Lord's work.

In April, Anthony's organization, the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, bought 15 lower-scale apartment complexes in Oklahoma City with $42 million in tax-exempt bonds. Part of the bond agreement required Trinity to reserve 20 percent of those units for the poor and disabled.

But before the ink dried on the deal, Anthony found himself embroiled in a legal battle brought by the Canadian-based real estate firm, TYBA. A battle, Anthony says, that has all but halted his work on the project.

Claiming it was the rightful purchaser of the Oklahoma City apartments, TYBA filed suit the day before the Trinity closing against sellers Michael and Linda Mastro and their company, Village on the Lake. The lawsuit asks the Oklahoma County District Court to undo the $29.2 million Trinity sale and force the Mastros to convey the property to TYBA.

Though Trinity is not a party to the lawsuit, Anthony testified in last week's hearing, held to determine if Vancouver-based TYBA could obtain an injunction to prevent the sale of two additional properties in the Mastro package. If TYBA prevails on the injunction action, it likely will proceed in the underlying case involving the 15 complexes.

Meanwhile, Anthony says his group is in limbo. His resentment toward TYBA is clear.

"They're a bunch of Canadian carpet-baggers," he says. "They're trying to stop some charitable work here."

TYBA, however, argues the issues involved are textbook contract law.

"This is really a pretty simple case," says TYBA attorney Joe Walters. "The court has been asked to just look at the contracts."

Specifically, TYBA says it was squeezed out of the apartment deal it intended to finance with private money. …

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