On 2/11/05, Barbara Ellison's mother Maxine Weller wrote out a check to Oklahoma Western Telephone Company in the amount of $73.22. Mrs. Weller wanted telephone service installed to her home owing to the fact that her seriously ill husband Joel Weller would soon be coming home from the hospital. Mrs. Weller's need was a simple one and one filled by telephone companies all across Oklahoma on a daily basis. Little did Mrs. Weller suspect that her desire for telephone service would turn into yet another major fiasco in LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
Before telephone service could be installed to Mrs. Weller's home it was necessary for the telephone company to obtain a right-of-way easement from any private property owner(s) across which the new telephone line must pass. Oklahoma Western Telephone Company contacted the ONLY private property owner so affected and requested a right-of-way easement. That private property owner was Barbara Ellison, who signed and had notarized a Right-of-Way Easement on 2/11/05. For additional info see Reference 12
Barbara Ellison in her Right-of-Way Easement made reference to a prior granting of easement by Henry Jackson, a previous owner of what is now the Ellison property. Mr. Jackson granted Oklahoma Western Telephone Company an easement back in 1985 in order that the telephone company could install service to what was then his property, a piece of property which has passed through several owners between Mr. Jackson and Ms. Ellison and which has not in any way changed in size or layout in the interim. Ms. Ellison even included a copy of that earlier easement with the new easement she was providing. For more info see Reference 13.
On 2/24/05, Barbara Ellison filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) regarding Oklahoma Western Telephone Company's refusal to properly install a telephone line to her mother's home. According to Ellison's complaint filed with the OCC, telephone company workers refused to install the new line underground as is the norm and instead proposed simply laying it across the ground where it would be exposed to many type of danger. For additional info see Reference 14
On 3/04/05 Mr. Rodney Poff of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Consumer
Services Division - Technical Division responded via e-mail to Ms. Ellison's
official complaint to the OCC indicating that he as well as other OCC
employees were becoming involved in the case. Mr. Poff also indicated in his
e-mail that 'Oklahoma Western must provide service' but went on to point out
'that doesn't mean it will happen immediately.'. Mr. Poff's e-mail also
contained the following, directly quoted here:
I spoke with Pauline VanHorn of Oklahoma Western. She feels there are some safety concerns (safety to her workers) concerning the owners of the adjacent property.
To read the 3/04/05 e-mail from Mr. Poff of the OCC, to Barbara Ellison see Reference 15
Over the course of the next several days repeated communications took
place between Ms. Ellison and Mr. Poff and according to Mr. Poff, he and
Oklahoma Western Telephone Company, its owner and the company's lawyer. In an
e-mail dated 3/10/05 from Mr. Poff to Barbara Ellison, Mr. Poff stated:
Spoke with Oklahoma Western's attorney again yesterday. He mentioned that Pauline is still not wanting her employees to go out there because of a perceived "danger" - I told her attorney to tell her that, if she still refuses to provide service to you - that she's going to find herself in an OCC courtroom explaining to the administrative law judge why she won't provide service to a 2nd home on land that already has an easement granted that OK Western is providing service to the 1st home with.
To read the 3/10/05 e-mail from Mr. Poff of the OCC, to Barbara Ellison see Reference 16
Throughout the month of March 2005, repeated e-mails between Ms. Ellison
and Mr. Poff of the OCC flowed back and forth with Mr. Poff informing Ms.
Ellison of the status of her complaint against Oklahoma Western Telephone
Company and his efforts to resolve that complaint. As the month of March
drew to a close Barbara Ellison received via regular mail a letter purporting
to be from Pauline Van Horn of Oklahoma Western Telephone Company. In that
letter it was stated:
Oklahoma Western placed it facilities in the county right of way, however, at the present time two fences have been constructed between the county road and your property line, which prevent Oklahoma Western from accessing it's facilities and prevent it from necessary access to your property as well.
This letter went on further to state:
If all of your neighboring property owners will allow us to access the property between the fences, Oklahoma Western is willing to provide service to your home using a temporary drop which is not buried, but instead crosses the property on the surface of the land.
A copy of this letter is being made available here as Reference 17
In early April, 2005 Mr. Poff of the OCC notified Barbara Ellison that the
Consumer Services Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission would not
take action on her mother's complaint at that time. Mr. Poff indicated that
if Mrs. Weller and Ms. Ellison wished to pursue further action that it would
be necessary to file a complaint against Oklahoma Western Telephone in an OCC
court where an Administrative Law Judge would hear the case. Mrs. Weller and
Ms. Ellison filed such an action. It was received by the Court Clerk of the
Oklahoma Corporation Commission on 4/15/05 and was officially filed with the
court on 4/19/05.
For the Certified Mail Receipt and the Official Complaint as filed, see Reference 18
The hearing on the Weller/Ellison complaint against Oklahoma Western Telephone Company was originally scheduled for May 26, 2005. However on 5/4/05 Kathy Nelson of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission informed Barbara Ellison via e-mail that the judge that would handle the case wished to reschedule the hearing for 11:00 am on June 9, 2005. This owing to a shortage of court reporters during the May 26 time frame.
It must be noted that the June 9th hearing date is within two days of being four calendar months from the date on the check Maxine Weller paid to Oklahoma Western Telephone Company for the installation of telephone service to her home.
The Telephone Fiasco of LeFlore County, Oklahoma is a fine example of the injustice which has reigned supreme throughout Barbara Ellison's journey through the looking glass and into LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
What should be a simple exercise in obtaining telephone service from the company holding the monopoly for such service in Summerfield, OK has turned into a nightmare involving Barbara Ellison, her mother Maxine Weller, several employees of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and ultimately an administrative law judge.
Would not it have been a lot easier, cheaper and certainly wiser for Oklahoma Western Telephone Company to have simply installed the phone line to the Weller home as contracted for when Mrs. Weller gave the company a check back in early February, 2005?
According to Mr. Poff of the OCC, the owner of the telephone company felt that her employees would be "in danger" from Ellison's 'neighbors' if they were to attempt to properly install the telephone line to Mrs. Weller's home. This of course leaves one to question why if Ms. Van Horn is so fearful of her employees being harmed by Ellison's 'neighbors' why did she not contact the LeFlore County Sheriff to have deputies stand guard over Oklahoma Western Telephone Company employees while they did the work.
The letter purportedly from Pauline Van Horn of Oklahoma Western Telephone
Company dated and 3/29/05 raises even more questions.
This letter plainly states that the telephone company facilities are in the county right-of-way, a fact which Barbara Ellison has maintained all along and a point we made quite clearly in Part 1 of The Fence of LeFlore County.
The letter further states that two fences have been constructed between the county road and the Ellison property line and that these fences prevent Oklahoma Western from accessing its facilities and also prevents the company from access to the Ellison property as well. The reality of the two fences was that one of them was constructed on county property and the other on Barbara Ellison's property and both were illegally placed.
That the letter went on to state that an installation with the line laying upon the ground could be made "If all of your neighboring property owners will allow us to access the property between the fences" is grossly absurd in light of the fact that the writer had earlier in the letter stated that the telephone company's facilities were located upon the county right-of-way. The only other property owner neighboring the county right-of-way is of course Barbara Ellison and she had previously granted Oklahoma Western Telephone Company an easement to cross her property.
The irony of this letter is, in the opinion of this writer, remarkable. The Fence of LeFlore County, Oklahoma was abated over two weeks PRIOR to the date of the letter. That the telephone company's facilities which are clearly within the county right-of-way were being illegally confined by The Fence of LeFlore County was apparently lost on the letter's writer. One can only speculate as to how many, if any, other facilities of Oklahoma Western Telephone Company are so confined and why the company management would tolerate such illegal conduct.
Since telephone companies hold monopolies in the State of Oklahoma it is reasonable for the citizens of this state to expect and demand that these monopolies treat and serve all customers equally. That this situation has been allowed to exist for months after Maxine Weller paid the fee to have telephone service installed to her home is, in the opinion of this writer, a disgrace and one justifying sanctions under the authority of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
One can only speculate as to how long it takes others in the Oklahoma Western Telephone Company service area to obtain telephone service. I'd be more than willing to bet a dollar to a donut that none of them have had to wait as long as Maxine Weller. Who still to this day does not have telephone service.
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