It looks like our pal Sherrie Conley – the book-banning, culture war-fighting, Bumpit-wearing State Rep. from Newcastle – is in the news again!
This time around, it has nothing to do with the stupid things Sherrie says – like comparing librarians to cockroaches, referring to her family as a “Klan,” or warning the public about gay rainbows making their way into children's books about grumpy unicorns.
Nope, now Sherrie’s in the news for more traditional corrupt Oklahoma politician reasons, like using her clout and position as an Oklahoma lawmaker to quickly profit from the OTA’s controversial turnpike expansion plans, all while her constituents attempt to rally and fight against it.
Via a Pierre Lackmeyer column in The “New and Improved” Oklahoman:
A Newcastle lawmaker whose house is in the potential pathway of a new toll road was the first to sell her property to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, was paid $103,460 above the appraised value, was given nearly $26,000 in moving expenses and is now living in that home rent free for up to a year.
Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, who sits on the state house transportation committee, contacted the government liaison for the turnpike authority and met with the deputy director less than 48 hours after the agency unveiled the map of proposed new toll roads as part of the 15-year, $5 billion ACCESS Oklahoma toll road expansion plan.
Appraisers visited her house on March 1, 2022, just one week after ACCESS Oklahoma was unveiled and after Conley and her husband, Paden, discovered their property was located within the area the turnpike authority hopes to acquire to build its east-west connector toll road...
Conley’s interactions, detailed in interviews with turnpike officials and records obtained by The Oklahoman, occurred as her constituents were challenging the legality of ACCESS Oklahoma and what a judge later ruled was a willful effort to begin work without following the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.
Yikes! What is Sherrie doing?
I bet she’s going to get quite tongue-lashing by her corrupt colleagues in the Oklahoma legislature for not taking a more clandestine approach to securing such a sweetheart deal for herself. As the Stitt administration has shown, there’s an art to grifting and corruption, and Sherrie has failed miserably!
Seriously, couldn’t she have waited for the Pike Pass decal to dry before trying to cash in on this thing?
I know she was seeing dollar signs and all that, but have a little bit of patience. At the very least, go out and score some political brownie points (and campaign donations) with constituents by opposing the turnpike before succumbing to The Man and securing a sweetheart deal for yourself.
Lackmeyer asked Conley about the turnpike grift and, surprisingly, she didn’t blame the woke left or porn in schools. Instead, she went with the whole “I wanted to be a guinea pig to understand the process” excuse:
Conley said her inquiry with the turnpike authority was not limited to discussing her own property.
“My initial thoughts were about how the projects were going to impact the residents and business owners of my district and how I could best support them as they navigate through the process,” Conley said. “Our conclusion, since my husband and I were being impacted, was to walk through the process of negotiating with OTA.”
While acknowledging the initial contact by Conley was unique, Joe Echelle, deputy director at the turnpike authority, described the negotiations as normal and not without precedent...
When Conley was asked if she believed a special circumstance existed for early purchase of her home, she told The Oklahoman, “My focus was on my constituency and how I could best serve them throughout this process.”
Yeah, the lady who eagerly cut to the front of the line to sell her house for an over-inflated price to the state to make way for a turnpike that may not even be built was simply trying to best serve her constituency that’s vehemently opposed to that very same turnpike.
That makes as much sense as Sherrie’s rant about the gay agenda leaching its way into Star Wars…
In his article, Lackmeyer also examined why Sherrie received $100,000 more than the appraised value of her property. I guess appraisers failed to notice that Sherrie was trying to turn her land into a pecan plantation for the Field family.
Or something like that.
The value of pecan trees: The Conleys also asked for an additional $128,940 for 15 pecan trees they said had begun producing the year they bought the property. “From then on,” turnpike officials wrote, “they harvested their pecans and gifted them to family and friends, creating a tradition they did not want to give up.” After receiving tree replacement price quotes from Marcum’s Nursery and an assessment table from the Noble Foundation, Gore agreed to pay the couple an additional $34,500 for the pecan trees. For that same sum, a customer can buy 8,455 pounds of pecans from one of the state’s largest pecan sellers, Miller Pecan in Miami.
I know the turnpike NIMBYs are putting up a good fight and there’s a chance the thing may never be built, but if I had a home in the path of the proposed turnpike route, the first thing I’d do tomorrow morning is plant about 100 pecan trees in my backyard.
Anyway, you can read more about Sheri’s quest to get rich off the turnpike all while her constituents fight against it over at The Oklahoman.
Also, if you want to hear some kind of dated discussion about the proposed turnpike, you can check out my TLO Show podcasts with OTA Deputy Director Joe Echelle and turnpike opponent Dr. Amy Cerato.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.