What was presented to taxpayers in 2013 as a $65 million dollar OHB ring-dike-levee project around the communities of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke ND is now roughly $10 million over budget (as of July 31, 2016 $74,985,921.52) on the way to a USACE purported $126 million, with a very high probability of reaching $150 million.
This will be a multi-part series unraveling a few of the actions orchestrated by Oxbow’s elite to burden state, county and city taxpayers with equity enrichment of the exclusive Oxbow County Club and its stockholders.
Where does one even begin?
Shortly after the 2010 election, wherein, Cass county voters passed the FM Home Builders Association half-cent flood protection sales tax measure, the water impacts that had been concealed from the public were shifted from downstream to upstream of Fargo.
This prompted Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof and other prominent leaders from Bakke and Hickson to hold community meetings where residents banded together in a unified voice against the proposed project.
In January 2011 the city of Oxbow, in near unanimous consent of residents, ratified Resolution #2011-01 RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE FARGO MOORHEAD (FM) DIVERSION.
Isn’t it curious that a city that was staunchly opposed to the overall project somehow finagled equity enrichment for a around 40 homeowners and the Privately Held Stockholder Non-Profit Corporation a.k.a Oxbow Golf and Country Club.
In an email obtained via Oxbow attorneys Turman and Lang, Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof appears to elude to the lack of accuracy in maps used to establish alleged flood conditions at Oxbow, ND.
|From: Jim Nyhof [mailto:Jim@dawsonins.com]
Sent: Thursday, october 06, 2011 3:02 PM
To: REDACTED CITY COUNCIL EMAILS
subject: RE: RE:
I was going by a Houston map from the 09 flood that shows it dry at 41.5 ft. The inundation map did not have elevations just water at various level. I know there was considerable more water on the map then the 09 flood. I stopped a Moore today to see about surveying it as well. This did include both sides of Holland and between Adams and I. No idea of the cost to repair sprinklers either.James E. Nyhof
Interesting…, Oxbow is LESS impacted than maps used to advance the OHB ring-dike-levee project and high-end buyouts?
We’re going to jump forward a year to Oct 2012:
From: REDACTED BAKKE RESIDENT EMAIL
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2012 8:04 AM
To: Jim Nyhof
Cc: REDACTED BAKKE AND OXBOW RESIDENT EMAILS
Subject: Ring Dike
Thus far everyone in Bakke is against the ring dike. The response is no, no, no and no. Jim, I hope we can stick together on this issue as the project cannot work without our approvals. Being in the insurance business, you are aware of the term estoppel. “It occurs when a party reasonably relies on the promise of another party, and because of the reliance is injured or damaged”. 3′ was the limit before, why does 10′ feet work now – because a few guys drive to St. Paul? Why wouldn’t they entertain this issue long ago? Call it BS!
Then it would appear the only two options for Bakke is stop the dam(and the project) or find a new place to live. I would think elevating highway 81 could serve at the western edge of the levee easily enough if Oxbow residents choice to consider the option. I will have Moore Engineering update the map to reflex the position of Bakke and let Oxbow residents decide what they want for options. Once we have enough information to make a decision we will see what Oxbow residents think about the idea. Our next meeting is Monday.
I cannot speak for the residents of Bakke, that is why we are having a meeting on Monday night 8:00. Based on your email you have clearly indicated that you agree to the FM diversions proposal. Do you realize Fargo is doing everything they can to split us apart, not to mention attempting to turn our backs on the JPA and MnDak? Dalyrmple and Hoeven have clearly indicated that this project cannot go thru without working with our communities. Putting us in a dangerous bowl is not working with us.
Are you willing to put the residents and your family behind a “high hazard” dam that could fill up in 15 minutes (not to mention 35 degree water)?
You have made a direct threat to residents of Bakke (using 81 as the western edge) that is very disheartening.
There are several things that stick out on this new ‘grand solution’ to me. 1: Walaker, Synder, and the good ol boy network has told us from the start that flood walls through Fargo wont work because of our soils and the hieght the dikes would have to be. Why does a 10-17 feet dike work here but not in Fargo where it belongs? 2: Over 3′ of impact is a federally mandated buyout we were told. The rules changed somehow? 3: Oxbow would still loose 40-50 homes. 4: This ‘grand solution’ would put more water on the rest of Pleasant Township, Richland, and Wilkin Counties. 5: Everyone inside of the dike would have to pay high risk flood insurance I’m sure. 6: Our home values woud likely drop 25-50%. Just to name a few, there are several more.
The ‘grand solution’ to me only serves to help Fargo. They continue to protect undeveloped flood plain for development while destroying our communities. This is nothing more than a rediculious effort by the Diversion Authority to divide our fight against the DAM. We need to stick together as communities with the JPA and do as we have previously said “No new water because of the DAM”. The Diversion Authority has a PR firm, this is their attempt to divide us. How many hardship buyouts have occured? None. The other PR move. They are doing the same as a dirty campaign, they run things out to attempt to change opinion, yet nothing has really changed. I doubt this is actually even being considered. If 10-17 foot dikes are the ‘grand solution’ then they should build them through Fargo. Remember we don’t currently FLOOD!!
The filling of the new “Oxbowl” is much faster than any flooding in Fargo with a levee failure. Water will flow out to the north of Fargo, it will not drain out of “Oxbowl”. Please ask for a life loss calculation from the Corps. What is your evacuation plan for a levee breach and 3AM.
Thanks for throwing Oxbow under the bus before we have a chance to talk to residents. Nice to know……
So it appears that Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof is feigning the victim card while continuing a duplicitous facade of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke working mutually towards mitigation as an overall community.
Read this email:
|From: Jim Nyhof <Jim@dawsonins.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 12:22 PM
To: REDACTED OXBOW COUNCIL EMAILS
Subject: meeting follow up
I talked with Keith Ernst this morning about the structure at the entrance and he will get me an answer.Met with WDAY about our newest structure on the golf course. Hopefully it’s a positive story!!!
Met with Don Larson, chief of staff with Hoeven’s office in Washington. The project sponsor made a commitment to agree to mitigation at the Washington hearing and if there is any resistant he should be the first one we contact. He does not feel it is in our best interest to enter mitigation as a group with Hickson, Bakke, MnDak or any other group. Dealing with the concerns of our residents should be our focus.
Too long of a meeting again last night but we got a lot done!!!
Have a great day!!!
HUH? Check the email date…, Who threw Whom under the bus?
Was Nyhof “playing”, for nearly a year, other local leaders and residents into supporting a process that was actually intended to financially benefit Oxbow and leave Hickson, Bakke and MNDak twisting in the wind…?
Coming up next: Wealthy Welfare Part 2 – Oxbow Country Club Debt