Second lawsuit filed against City of Durant within a month

DURANT, Okla. (KXII) Former Parks and Recreation Superintendent Keach Ballard was fired in September and his attorney said they still don't know why.

"Keach got a one-page, very general statement from Mr. Rundel whenever he decided to fire him,” Ballard’s attorney Phyllis Walta told News12. “He gave him no facts to support why he was terminating him. Says you violated this policy and this policy."

Ballard first sued the city last month, saying they violated the Open Meetings Act.

Now Ballard is suing the city again, this time claiming they violated the Open Records Act.

Both before and after he was fired, Ballard made requests for dozens of records, including some about a local plumbing company taking thousands of gallons of water from the city for months without paying until it was made public.

In a document sent out to city councilors in September, the city manager claimed Ballard knew the water was being taken and never reported it.

"Which Mr. Ballard did contact someone in the utility department and let them know about what was going on and they said don't worry about that, we know all about it,” Walta said. “There's an agreement."

City attorney Tom Marcum denied part of Ballard’s records request, telling Walta all documents relating to the company would not be provided, something the city attorney also told us.

"And the response that the city gave to us was, we can't give you any of those records because they are under criminal investigation by the Durant Police Department and they are in their custody,” Walta said.

Walta said under the Open Records Act, that is not a valid excuse.

"You can’t put them in an investigatory file if they were public records before they went into that investigation, and say ‘Oh I’m sorry, now they are secret, you can’t get them’,” Walta said.

Durant Police referred us to city management for more information about the investigation.

The City Manager has not gotten back to us yet.

Ballard worked for the city for 18 years before he was fired.