Bryce Kennedy resigns as Tonkawa City Attorney

by Jordan Green

Blackwell City Attorney Bryce Kennedy resigned as the City of Tonkawa’s attorney Friday, roughly one week after former Blackwell Mayor T.J. Greenfield pled guilty to felony charges of embezzlement, fraud and conspiracy.

Kennedy’s resignation also comes as Tonkawa City Manager Kirk Henderson and former Blackwell City Manager Thomas “Chip” Outhier face felony charges of fraud and conspiracy stemming from a so-called “straw purchase” between the cities of Blackwell and Tonkawa.

Henderson confirmed Kennedy’s resignation to The Journal-Tribune. The Journal-Tribune filed an open records request for Kennedy’s letter Monday, but city officials had not provided the letter as of press time, citing the letter’s discussion of the criminal charges.

Kennedy did not return a call to The Journal-Tribune on Monday.

News of the lawyer’s resignation came days after his legal advice was discussed during July 28 court proceedings.

Greenfield pled guilty to five felonies stemming from transactions between his former concrete company, G&C Concrete, and the City of Blackwell. Greenfield, Henderson and Outhier were charged in late 2021 after state auditors released an investigative audit of the City of Blackwell.

Investigators honed in on an April 2018 incident when the City of Tonkawa purchased concrete blocks and a snow plow blade at an auction of G&C’s assets. Tonkawa then sold the items to Blackwell days later, and the materials never left the auction site.

Because Greenfield was mayor at the time, auditors said the purchase violated Article 11 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which bans municipal officials from receiving “any interest, profit, or perquisites arising from the use or loan of public funds.”

Prosecutors alleged in court that Henderson and Outhier conspired to make the purchase.

Henderson testified that Kennedy told officials the transaction was permissible, and Kennedy told The Journal-Tribune on Aug. 1 that he believed the purchase was legal under the Oklahoma State Statutes. However, he said he did not consider the state constitution when he advised officials.

He also said he was unaware the items never left G&C property. Through his firm, Oklahoma Municipal Law, PLLC, Kennedy represents several cities and towns across Oklahoma.

Aside from Blackwell, he has represented the cities of Enid, Cherokee, Perry, Waynoka, Fairview, Thomas, Okeene, Okarche, Cleo Springs, Ringwood, Billings, Beaver, Mulhall and Covington, according to a short biography on the City of Cherokee’s website.

Kennedy has taught courses to municipal officials for the Oklahoma Municipal League, a coalition of Oklahoma cities, and he served as president of the Oklahoma Association of Municipal Attorneys, according to the City of Cherokee.

He obtained his bachelors degree in 1976 from Temple University, and he obtained his Juris doctorate at the University of Oklahoma’s law school.