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Hochatown obtains temporary halt of 2% lodging tax

Press Release

March 28, 2023

By CEO Brian Whitfield

 

 

Today, McCurtain Memorial Hospital received word that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Hochatown lawsuit to temporarily stop the collection of the 2% lodging tax that was scheduled to begin this Saturday, April 1. The Supreme Court said in their ruling that they were making no determination as to the validity of the election but that this granting of a temporary injunction would allow the case to be litigated in court, temporarily halting the tax until the case concludes. This ruling overruled Judge Emily Maxwell’s denial of Hochatown’s motion for temporary injunction back on March 8. 


The hospital will make no assumption about the motives of the mayor of Hochatown or those who have joined her in this seemingly desperate attempt to overthrow an election where more than 65% of voters said “yes,” to a 2% additional lodging tax that will fund and equip a brand new hospital. The lawsuit was deliberate and unfortunate.

 

Hochatown’s mayor seems to have forgotten that it was the original 3% lodging tax that, for many years, built tourism in this county and collectively, with that tax and the residents of this great county, gave her a town to even be mayor of. This lawsuit is about greed and selfish motives that must be challenged. The health and safety of 30,000 residents and the vote of 65% of voters in November must be considered.

 

We’ve turned to the judicial process to protect both health care and your vote.

 

It is the policy of McCurtain Memorial Hospital that we do not comment on specifics as they may relate to ongoing litigation. We know that our employees and our community have many questions. What we are prepared to say is that this case is not over. This case now returns to Judge Maxwell’s courtroom where on June 7 she will take up our motion for a summary judgment and determine whether the election was valid.

 

The Hospital and its management board is working closely with our attorneys. The Law Firm of Crowe & Dunlevy has represented this hospital and its employees well – and they have considered not only this hospitals interest but that of the people. We are committed to ensuring that the integrity of our elections and the will of the people are adhered to and we will fight to ensure that health care is available to the residents of Southeastern Oklahoma.

 

Today, I want to commend members of our county government for their courage to stand up for health care and to ensure your voices are represented in this litigation. The county has retained their own counsel in this matter and we believe that through them, you are well represented, too.

 

I would be remiss if I did not mention today that the 2% additional lodging tax passed in all 30 precincts during the November election and that includes those who reside in Hochatown. We know that our friends to the north of us are supporters of health care and their just as concerned about how easy it has seemingly been to delay their voice. This challenge to that election is the work of only a few and by no means is representative of the people at-large there.

 

For more than 50 years, McCurtain Memorial Hospital has been providing quality health care in this area and it will take more than a couple people to change the future of health care in this area or to negate the vote of over 5,000 registered voters. We will be here for years to come, and we are as confident today as we were more than fifty years ago, we will be doing the same fifty years from now and doing so in a brand-new hospital.


##End of Release##


CEO Brian Whitfield

McCurtain Memorial Hospital

580-208-3100 | ceo@mmhok.com

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