Stillwater News Press

September 4, 2010

LETTER: Better than New Jersey?

Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — I found the article "Our View" from Sept. 2grossly (sic.) 

On Sept. 1, your article by Mr. Allen says that “OSU says Bates’ grant didn’t come from the city’s funds.” But this editorial says they did: “money from one of the grant programs the city, through the chamber, helped fund.” We are left to wonder if the money was from the city or not.

Do your reporters even speak with each other. Here's another interesting bit, from the Sept. 1 article: “The $5,000 in grant money was divided in half, with $2,500 being awarded to Bates and $2,500 to Ezzat-Ahmadi. OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said Bates had agreed to return the unspent $1,900 of his half of the money, and had already returned about $1,700.” So he's lacking only $200, according to the people who actually gave him the money and want it back. I'd say that's a legitimate source.

One wonders why you're holding the mayor accountable for his business partner's dealings in what appear to be a separate transaction. If grant money is first divided, THEN awarded, Mr. Bates has no control over where the other award goes.

He doesn't work for OSU. If you have a problem with OSU’s grant choices, you should logically complain to/about OSU. 

I moved to your pleasant town one year ago from New Jersey.  I’ve seen corruption in elected officials, and this isn’t it. Your “college student” mayor is working toward a Masters Degree. It sounds as if some of the reporters at this paper could try for some postgraduate work in communication with each other.

Your undergraduate classes in sarcasm seemed to have paid off, though. 

Laura K. Potts


Editor’s note: The City Council, including Mayor Nathan Bates, approved $25,000 to be provided to the Chamber of Commerce for economic development programs including EBASIC.

The grant Mr. Bates received from the OSU Center for Innovation and Economic Development Inc. was from the EBASIC program. OSU said the actual dollars Bates received were not from the city’s portion of the program’s funding.

There was not a dispute over whether the city helped fund EBASIC and the mayor received money from EBASIC, but rather whether his business’ actual $5,000 came from the tax dollars he and his fellow council members voted into the fund.

According to the Form 1099 the OSU Center for Innovation and Economic Development Inc. sent to the mayor’s address, $5,000 was paid to the company - Icon Properties, Inc. The Icon Properties, LLC articles of organization filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State identify the two company organizers filing the articles as Rasoul Ezzat-Ahmadi and Nathaniel Bates. An e-mail communication between the mayor and Glenn Freedman of the OSU center saying the grant was being processed and money about to be paid was addressed to Nathan Bates via his city mayor e-mail account and to the chamber’s economic representative.

A letter from Freedman to Nathan Bates dated July 26, 2010, tells Bates “we would appreciate if you would return the remaining $4,400 to the Center for Innovation and Economic Development by August 16, 2010. The letter does not mention Bates’ business partner nor does it indicate Bates is being held responsible for less than the full grant.