By TERRY GROOVER
As Richard and Ryan Tate await a preliminary hearing on various charges related to their publishing business, the Mustang father and son learned Monday that most of their property had been sold.
Four of the five tracts of land owned by the family sold at auction on June 11. Canadian County Special Judge Gary McCurdy confirmed the property sales on Monday.
Foreclosure lawsuits were filed against five tracts of land owned by the family in October after they failed to make payments to Bancfirst.
One tract of land did not sell because it has a second mortgage.
According to court records, the four properties that were sold included 717 E. Olivia Terrace, which sold to Lawson Crout for $190,000; Tract 4, which is at 605 S. Forest Drive, which sold to Stephanie Blumhof for $80,000, and tract 5, which sold to Paragon Homes for $80,000. That property is at 1021 Tulip Drive in Yukon.
Tract 1, which does not give a specific address, sold for $400,500 to Willowbrook Investments.
The Tates, who owned a self-publishing company in Mustang, are charged in Canadian County District Court with four felony counts of embezzlement, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two felony counts of extortion by threat, one felony count of racketeering and one
misdemeanor count of embezzlement.
A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 28, according to court documents.
The charges were filed last year by Attorney General Mike Hunter.
Terri Watkins, a spokesperson for Hunter’s office, said Tuesday that the number of victims has topped 2,100.
The Tates were charged in May 2017 after announcing plans to reopen their publishing and music publishing business after having closed earlier in the year.
At that time, the company owed millions to Xerox and Tennessee-based Lightning Source after a judge entered summary judgments against the company.
Lightning Source sued in January in the Western District of the U.S. District Court seeking repayment of money it said it had given to Tate Publishing in June 2016.
The lawsuit claimed the money was for the exclusive distribution and printing for at least 5.5 million books during the following five years.
A federal judge approved a default judgment in favor of Lightning Source for more than $2 million.
Xerox was granted an award by a Canadian County district judge in March after Ryan Tate failed to respond to various motions.
The judgment authorizes Xerox to collect $1,446,070.67 from Tate Publishing and $450,308.18 from Ryan Tate.
“Securing the finest legal counsel made it possible for us to put a plan in place to resolve all the issues we were facing… in a proper and ethical manner,” Ryan Tate wrote in the email sent to clients. “Finally, we established a plan for reorganization in order to reinstate full publishing, distribution, and marking operations immediately.”
The attorney general said the email that announced it was resuming operations was what prompted the charges.
Watkins said more than 2,100 complaints have been filed against the Tates and their business.
Those complaints range from failure to deliver products and services that had been previously paid for, failure to pay royalty earnings per contractual agreement and refusal to return files unless the customer agreed to pay a $50 processing fee.
During the investigation, agents allegedly found that money was deposited into corporate accounts then transferred into Richard and Ryan Tate’s personal bank accounts.
Watkins said the attorney general’s office anticipates the criminal case will move forward in August.
“There was a lot of research and discovery. In a criminal case, this is not an unusual amount of time,” Watkins said.
She said Hunter plans to seek prison time, restitution and the return of products.
Watkins also said that the number of complaints being received about the Tates has slowed, though the agency does continue to receive emails regarding the case.
The Tates have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail.