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Judge orders Midtown Square demolished

Lawton_Lawton's Midtown Square property will be demolished in a ruling handed down by Judge Keith Aycock on Friday.  The case pit the City of Lawton against the property owner, Bobby Mansell. 

There was visible disgust in the courtroom as Mansell again failed to meet the December 5 deadline set last week by the judge, after missing the first two deadlines given in October.  On Friday, Mansell produced contracts for roofing repairs and asbestos removal, but those did not meet the court's stipulations which were:  two roofing contracts, one asbestos removal contract, and one general contractor contract in addition to creating an  escrow account totaling $600,000 for the renovations - but, he failed to do so.  Mansell's attorney says it was because his client did not want account managers to remove money from the account, leaving him out of the loop.

Judge Aycock said he had been very specific about the deadlines, and stuck to his ultimatum that if the deadlines were not met, he would issue a demolition order.  Aycock was unsure if he  had the authority to force Mansell to deposit money into an account for demolition, but asked the city to find out if that was in his power.

Lawton City Manager Larry Mitchell says the city is satisfied.  "We wanted a resolution and I think we now have a resolution," he said. "We were always of the mindset that either you repair make the renovations or remove them - so I think the city's satisfied."  Mitchell said it is likely that the building will be demolished within 90 days.

The City of Lawton will now get bids for the demolition of the property at 11th and Gore Boulevard that has been unoccupied for years, and has continued to be a center of dispute.  Mansell and his son - who is is attorney - say they intend to explore other legal options.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.
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