Former Kingfisher mayor ordered to pay for "reckless disregard"

Former Kingfisher mayor ordered to pay for "reckless disregard"

Posted: Updated:
KINGFISHER -

The city of Kingfisher and the town's former mayor will have to pay up after a jury had its say in a trial filed by the owner of an Oklahoma construction company. Chris Poindexter is the owner of Pridex Construction and says the case has been a struggle for more than three years.

The case started when Poindexter bid on a project to help control flooding problems in the city of Kingfisher. "I had an engineer call me and he said he knew I was qualified and capable to do the job and asked me if I was aware of it and if I would look at submitting a bid on it," Poindexter said.

Poindexter's bid was the lowest bid and the city awarded him the contract. He had to write a check to the city a check for a bid bond and then the city said he needed a performance bond. A performance bond ensures contractors finish the work; or the city is not out money if the work is not satisfactorily completed and needs to be redone.

Poindexter says he offered to put up a cash bond, $500,000 of his own money to meet the bonding requirements. "I can assure I would finish the project; I always have and that's why the engineer called me in the first place."

When the city denied his cash bond, Poindexter says then Mayor Jack Stuteville offered him help in the form of a phone number. Stuteville told jurors he gave Poindexter the number of Steve Standridge, who was not licensed to do insurance work in Oklahoma, but could connect him with someone to write the bond.

"Being the mayor of the city of Kingfisher I wanted to please the mayor and I wanted to do what he wanted me to do," Poindexter told Fox 25. However, jurors would learn that Standridge owed money to Stuteville. On the stand, Stuteville denied he received any money for introducing Poindexter to Standridge.

Ultimately, Standridge would introduce Poindexter to a man named Larry Wright, of the Underwriter's Group, out of Florida. Write offered to write Poindexter an insurance bond to meet the city's deadline. It turns out that bond was no good. Poindexter would learn Wright wasn't legally allowed to write bonds in Oklahoma after receiving a "cease-and-desist" order from the office of former Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland.

"The mayor of the city of Kingfisher was telling me he [Larry Wright] could help me and he [Wright] had a lot of business in the bonding business," Poindexter said.

Stuteville told jurors he did not benefit from Poindexter's problems and was not responsible for the city re-bidding the project which led to Poindexter losing thousands.

A jury disagreed. In its verdict, jurors unanimously decided Stuteville acted "intentionally and with malice" and "acted in reckless disregard to the rights of others." The jury said Stuteville had to pay $500,000 to Poindexter in actual and punitive damages.

This week Stuteville was written a check for more than $277,000 for properties he sold to the state as part of the Kingfisher Flood Buyout program. It's a program Fox 25 first investigated last year. We showed that at least one of the properties taxpayers were purchasing was an already abandoned office building.

The city of Kingfisher settled its part of the case prior the jury's deliberations. The city settled for an undisclosed amount after the judge refused to drop them from the case.

A statement from current city manager Dave Slezicky said, "The settlement was reached amicably between parties. The decision was simplified as the amount requested for settlement was the same amount of the bid bond check that the City still held from Pridex. The City had attempted to release the check after re bidding the project. Despite the judge's ruling that the City was not obligated to return the bid bond check, I felt that it was within the intent of the governing board, as they had approved such action nearly three years ago."

Poindexter says he wants to thank the jurors for their service and verdict. He says the judgment will help him regain the money he's lost while fighting the case in the last three years.

However the legal problems for the city of Kingfisher are not over yet. Poindexter's brother is former Fire Chief Randy Poindexter.

Randy Poindexter is challenging his firing and believes it was politically motivated, in part, due to his brother's lawsuit against the city.

In court, jurors were told that when Stuteville was mayor he went to Randy Poindexter's house to discuss his friendship with Randy. In an audio recording of that conversation obtained by Fox 25 Jack Stuteville can be heard telling Randy Poindexter, "I could cause you so many problems."

The recording is inaudible for a moment following that statement, but in court Stuteville admitted to saying those words, but said he added he would never cause Poindexter problems.

A group called "Concerned Citizens of Kingfisher" successfully passed a recall petition to remove Stuteville from office. An election for a new mayor is set for February 11th, but voters will find that Stuteville's name is still on the ballot and he could regain the position he was removed from.

Stuteville's attorney said he had no comment about what happened in court or the verdict.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Criminal profiler says Weleetka murders may not be fully solved

    Criminal profiler says Weleetka murders may not be fully solved

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-09-16 23:24:36 GMT
    Three guilty pleas, but a defendant who still says he's not responsible for murdering anyone. While Kevin Sweat awaits sentencing many may think the case is closed, but one criminal profiler says the case should be far from over.“In a real case run by serious professionals, you put the gun in the defendant's hand and you put the projectiles fired from that gun into the victim,” said Dr. Brent Turvey, an internationally renowned criminologist.
    Three guilty pleas, but a defendant who still says he's not responsible for murdering anyone. While Kevin Sweat awaits sentencing many may think the case is closed, but one criminal profiler says the case should be far from over.“In a real case run by serious professionals, you put the gun in the defendant's hand and you put the projectiles fired from that gun into the victim,” said Dr. Brent Turvey, an internationally renowned criminologist.
  • Serial burglar plagues West OKC neighborhood; suspect caught on tape

    Serial burglar plagues West OKC neighborhood; suspect caught on tape

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:47:38 GMT
    A serial burglar is plaguing one west Oklahoma City neighborhood. FOX 25 spoke to neighbors near Apache Drive in west Oklahoma City who said the number of incidents have spiked in the last few months."From the neighborhood, from the outside looking in, it looks like a good quiet neighborhood,” said neighbor Terry Wilson. “I never expected it to happen like that."The neighbor tells FOX 25 he's only lived in the neighborhood for three months. Within three weeks someone broke into his car so he ...
    A serial burglar is plaguing one west Oklahoma City neighborhood. FOX 25 spoke to neighbors near Apache Drive in west Oklahoma City who said the number of incidents have spiked in the last few months."From the neighborhood, from the outside looking in, it looks like a good quiet neighborhood,” said neighbor Terry Wilson. “I never expected it to happen like that."The neighbor tells FOX 25 he's only lived in the neighborhood for three months. Within three weeks someone broke into his car so he ...
  • Doctors: new enterovirus cases should not be cause for increased concern to parents

    Doctors: new enterovirus cases should not be cause for increased concern to parents

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:45:07 GMT
    A rarely seen strain of virus is sweeping across the United States. Tuesday CDC tests came back positive for the enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in Oklahoma. Though, the virus has sent some children in the state to the hospital, doctors say parents need not be alarmed.
    A rarely seen strain of virus is sweeping across the United States. Tuesday CDC tests came back positive for the enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in Oklahoma. Though, the virus has sent some children in the state to the hospital, doctors say parents need not be alarmed.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Man Accused of Starting Girlfriend's House on Fire While Kids Inside

    Man Accused of Starting Girlfriend's House on Fire While Kids Inside

    A Tulsa man is behind bars after police say he purposely set his girlfriend's house on fire while her children were asleep inside.
    A Tulsa man is behind bars after police say he purposely set his girlfriend's house on fire while her children were asleep inside.
  • Former State Department diplomat claims cover-up post Benghazi attack

    Former State Department diplomat claims cover-up post Benghazi attack

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:49:31 GMT
    As Congress' select committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a startling allegation from a former state department diplomat: Hillary Clinton confidants separated out potentially damaging documents from those turned over to the accountability review board. That board is investigating security lapses surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
    As Congress' select committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a startling allegation from a former state department diplomat: Hillary Clinton confidants separated out potentially damaging documents from those turned over to the accountability review board. That board is investigating security lapses surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Millionaire business woman accused of poisoning autistic son

    Millionaire business woman accused of poisoning autistic son

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 10:31:38 GMT
    New York (CNN) -- Gigi Jordan showed no emotion as a New York prosecutor described to a jury a "chilling and horrifying scenario" in which the businesswoman who made a fortune in pharmaceuticals allegedly concocted a lethal cocktail of painkillers and anti-inflammatories and forced her 8-year-old autistic son to swallow it."Two fresh bruises on his nose, fresh bruises on his chin and chest suggest she got on top of him and, hopefully while he was asleep, filled a syringe with the poisonous co...
    New York (CNN) -- Gigi Jordan showed no emotion as a New York prosecutor described to a jury a "chilling and horrifying scenario" in which the businesswoman who made a fortune in pharmaceuticals allegedly concocted a lethal cocktail of painkillers and anti-inflammatories and forced her 8-year-old autistic son to swallow it."Two fresh bruises on his nose, fresh bruises on his chin and chest suggest she got on top of him and, hopefully while he was asleep, filled a syringe with the poisonous co...
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.