Holding out on Highway 70

By: Paige Tebow Email
By: Paige Tebow Email

The future of a longtime Marshall County business is tied up in court, but the owner says he won't give up.

This time last year, we told you the Oklahoma Department Of Transportation was exercising the right of Imminent Domain to expand Highway 70 through Madill to four lanes.

Five landowners have settled, but two want top dollar for their land, including Gary Minor, who says he'll see the case until the end.

Life was pretty good for Gary Minor until this time last year when Department of Transportation officials told him Highway 70 was expanding. Pretty soon cars would be traveling four feet from Minor Printing's front door.

"I don't eat, sleep...wonder when they're going to get me out of here," said Minor.

Since then the future of his business has been hanging in the balance, while the issue was tied up in court.

ODOT offered him $49,000 for his parking lot. But to him, his livelihood is worth more than that.

"I think if they'll hold out long enough, put me through grief, I'll settle, but I want a twelve-member jury to decide this."

Minor has invested $12,000 in the lawsuit. But for the past four months, legal reasons beyond his control have been pushing the trial date back.

He says each time a hearing is postponed, it costs him hundreds of dollars.

ODOT officials say these cases are usually settled outside the courtroom, but they're prepared to go to trial.

State officials say the legal proceedings won't put the brakes on progress.

But for a man who's recovering from melanoma surgery, Minor says nothing gets to him, and he'll continue to fight.

"Both work on you. I don't know what's going to get me, the melanoma or highway department."

Three generations of minors have put in long hours at the shop off Highway 70. Gary plans to make it four.

A hearing has been set for next week. The judge should set a trial date then.

Wright Drilling, a Dallas-based company that owns Oklahoma Welder Supply, is also tied up in a suit with ODOT.


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