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City of Norman sued over mask mandate inside private homes

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The leader of a group that tried to recall the mayor of Norman and three city councilors is suing the city over an ordinance requiring masks be worn in private homes if more than 25 people are present.



FILE - In this June 9, 2020 file photo, Norman Mayor Breea Clark listens during a city council meeting in Norman, Okla. The Norman City Council has voted to require masks be worn inside personal homes if more than 25 people are present in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The council voted 5-3 Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2020, for the ordinance that takes effect immediately and expires Nov. 30, 2020, despite objections from residents that such a requirement violates their constitutional rights. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this June 9, 2020 file photo, Norman Mayor Breea Clark listens during a city council meeting in Norman, Okla. The Norman City Council has voted to require masks be worn inside personal homes if more than 25 people are present in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The council voted 5-3 Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2020, for the ordinance that takes effect immediately and expires Nov. 30, 2020, despite objections from residents that such a requirement violates their constitutional rights. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki File)

The lawsuit filed Thursday by Unite Norman co-founder Sassan Moghadam alleges the Sept. 22 ordinance violates Oklahoma’s constitutional right to due process.

“For the mayor and the city council to suggest that they could barge in on any Bible study, private home, family gathering or event, is a complete overreach far beyond their authority,” Moghadam said in a statement.

A statement from the city called the ordinance a temporary and reasonable way to protect public health and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It was never intended that police would come into private homes to ensure masks are being worn. The focus of the ordinance and its enforcement is these large nuisance parties that are potential super-spreaders in our community,” the statement read.

Unite Norman earlier this year sought recall elections for Mayor Breea Clark and three council members because of the council’s decision to reallocate $865,000 of the police department’s budget into community development programs and to create an internal auditor position

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How Bruce Kenan sued for a tax bargain on his Skaneateles Lake homes; “a slap in everybody else’s face”

In 2018, Skaneateles town officials raised the property tax assessment on Destiny USA partner Bruce Kenan’s two lakefront mansions to $7 million.



a group of people standing in a room: Bruce Kenan, Pyramid partner, gives a tour of the Destiny USA expansion in 2011.


© Scott Trimble | [email protected]/syracuse.com/TNS
Bruce Kenan, Pyramid partner, gives a tour of the Destiny USA expansion in 2011.

Unhappy with that, Kenan went to court and argued that was too high, that they really should be valued at $2.7 million. They settled somewhere in the middle: $4.7 million.



a large tree in a garden: Bruce Kenan's home at 103 W. Lake Street, Skaneateles, is on the market for $8.4 million. N


© N. Scott Trimble | [email protected]/N. Scott Trimble | [email protected]/syracuse.com/TNS
Bruce Kenan’s home at 103 W. Lake Street, Skaneateles, is on the market for $8.4 million. N

Then, less than a year later, Kenan put the properties up for sale.

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Kenan’s asking price? $8.4 million.

That’s three times the amount he argued in court they were worth.

The Kenans are like other wealthy landowners in New York who use their money and lawyers to negotiate more favorable tax bills, town Assessor Michael Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he sees it again and again in Skaneateles and in Lake George, a ritzy Adirondack town where he is also a part-time assessor.

“The whole thing to me is just a slap in everybody else’s face,” Maxwell said.

Kenan’s lawsuit paid off. The assessment reduction could save him and future owners tens of thousands of dollars a year in property taxes.

The town, county, village and school taxes on a $7 million property would cost about $161,000 a year. The taxes on a $5 million property would be $115,000.

Every million dollars that gets knocked off of a lakeside mansion assessment pushes $23,000 onto other taxpayers.

The town agreed to lower Kenan’s assessment at the same time neighboring properties were selling for millions of dollars over their assessed values.

John Mezzalingua, CEO of JMA Wireless, paid $11 million for the property

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