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Lawton's Midtown Square owner misses another deadline

Lawton_Another deadline has come and gone for Midtown Square's owner, Bobby Mansell. Just like many others before, he missed this one, too. The push to demolish or improve Midtown Square has been in the Lawton courts since 2007. The owner has been battling the city for even longer. Now, Judge Keith Aycock says it's been too long and he's had enough.

  Bobby Mansell did not post a bond to pay for demolition by the judge's February 6th deadline.  At the end of January, Judge Aycock said he would issue a stay of demolition when Mansell deposited that bond.  Now, the city won't have to wait any longer. Judge Aycock announced he'll appoint a commissioner and then he'll start taking offers from demolition contractors. Once he's gotten a reasonable offer, he says Midtown Square will come down. "I think we're getting very close to the end of the tunnel so to speak and I think that tunnel is getting much shorter. I don't see the owner having that many options remaining. And maybe the owner will do the right thing and proceed with allowing the court to remove them," said Lawton's City Manager Larry Mitchell.

   The judge says since Mansell did not post the money, the city is free to pursue demolition. The city's issue Tuesday was that the city could not award demolition to a contractor without Mansell's posted bond. But Aycock's commissioner appointment will settle that. He'll award demolition to a contractor that can wait until after demolition is complete for payment. That contractor can also collect interest--all out of liens to the Midtown Square real estate. Court costs and legal fees will also come out of that lien. "The hearing today was another step forward and I think the city is very pleased with the outcome and I think it's just a matter of time now that the actual structures are removed," said Mitchell.

  The stay that the Judge issued in late January is null and void now. As soon as Judge Aycock finds a contractor, he says the buildings will finally come down. But, Mansell can still deposit the bond that will reinstate Aycock's stay until his appeal. Judge Aycock told 7NEWS that he's appointing a commissioner immediately.  If Mansell waits to deposit that money, he'll also have to pay all the commissioner's fees in the mean time.

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