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Home » Objections to possible COBO Bond Approval – September 2023

Objections to possible COBO Bond Approval – September 2023

The Council of Bond Oversight (COBO) meeting agenda for Monday September 11, includes as agenda item 3

  • Discussion and possible action regarding approval of the request from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to issue up to $500 million of Second Senior Revenue Bonds, Series 2023

A screenshot showing the Agenda for September 11, 2023 for the COBO meeting. It includes It lists 5 items 1 Call to order 2 Discussion to approve minutes of the Special Meeting held on AUgust 18, 2023 3 (Highlighted in yellow)Discussion and possible action regarding approval of the request from the Oklahoma Turnpike AUthority to issue up to $500 million of Second Senior Revenue Bonds, Series 2023 4 Report from Staff 5 Adjournment

In other words, COBO will discuss, and possibly approve, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authorities request for bonds intended for use on the ACCESS turnpike program.

Multiple objection letters were sent to the COBO ahead of the September 11 meeting which request that COBO deny or delay any approval of the bond application from OTA.


September 6 Oklahomans for Responsible Transportation submitted a 6 page citizen objection letter requesting the COBO deny the bond proposal on the grounds that:

1. these projects are still pending litigation, 2. the OTA is under an investigative audit issued by the Oklahoma Attorney General, 3. the OTA continues to willfully violate their Trust Agreement and 4. the Federal Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) denied passage of one of the OTA’s proposed new alignments through fee title lands and flowage easements and a new route has not yet been announced.

The Council of Bond Oversight (COBO) is required to look at all factors to ensure that the OTA is complying with the requirements outlined in the Oklahoma Bond Oversight and Reform Act in 62 O.S. 2021 Sec 695.11A. Clearly, with major Trust Agreement violations as well as three pending lawsuits, an investigative audit, plus a failure to complete a required traffic and revenue study or any impact studies for route justification and federal agencies denying OTA passage on proposed routes, the OTA should be forced to tap their brakes and wait until all these issues are resolved before entering the bond market.

Image of page one of the citizen objection letter from Oklahomans for Responsible Transportation
Citizen Objection Letter

September 6,  Attorney Robert Norman submitted a 12 page objection letter which discusses in detail profound and unresolved concerns about the OTA’s legal authority to issue bonds for ACCESS Oklahoma.

• First, there are still three cases of unresolved, pending ACCESS Oklahoma litigation, one of which the OTA has not mentioned in its application or supporting materials;
• Second, the OTA is currently subject to an investigative audit from the State Auditor and Inspector arising from concerns the Oklahoma Attorney General has raised concerning potential OTA wrongdoing and noncompliance with the law;
• Third, and to the second point, the OTA is statutorily required to use the Attorney General as legal counsel for all bond issues, and the OTA has not done so;
• Fourth, the OTA has still materially failed to perform and complete the necessary due diligence required by the Council’s regulations and the OTA’s Trust Indenture.

Image of page one of the objection letter from Robert Norman
Robert Norman’s Objection Letter

September 8, Attorney Stanley Ward submitted a letter requesting the COBO deny the OTA’s bond request due to:

  • Non-Compliance with Oklahoma Statutes, Title 69, Section 1709 D.4 & E.2
  • Excessive financial advisor fees
  • Cost of Issuance and excessive legal fees
    Image of page one of the objection letter from Stanley Ward
    Ward and Associate’s Objection Letter

    An image showing rows and columns of numbers for debt schedule. Click the image to access the PDF file.
    Debt Schedule

We need YOU in the room at the September 11 meeting to show COBO that they must follow the law and pay attention to multiple statute violations and shady financial practices by the OTA.