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David Blackburn told to remove Oxford Commons sign by city

Developer Blake Tartt has reportedly filed criminal charges against fellow developer David Blackburn over the removal of a sign at Oxford Commons.

Blackburn’s lawyer says it was the city of Oxford that told him to take the sign down. However, a third developer, Lance Forsdick, says he actually owned the sign and sold it to Tartt in November.

City Building Official Randy Barber said he was contacted by Blackburn recently, who asked if the sign was legal. Barber said he looked into it and discovered the sign is actually located on state right-of-way and told Blackburn the sign needed to be removed in an email.

Sign has been there for years

The sign has been there since 2005 and was put up by Kenlan Development, the original developer of Oxford Commons. Forsdick said he sold Tartt 2 acres of land along the new frontage road and the sign was part of the deal, even though Blackburn, president of R.J. Allen & Associates, has used the sign to advertise the residential side of Oxford Commons for over four years.

Blackburn’s attorney, Swayze Alford said that R.J. Allen & Associates began developing the property known as Oxford Commons about four years ago.

“At that time, R.J. Allen & Associates changed the sign at issue to reflect its contact information as the new developer,” Alford told the EAGLE Tuesday night in a written statement. “No issue regarding usage of the sign was raised in four years.”

Alford said Blackburn was acting on this directive from the city of Oxford, and had the sign removed.

Forsdick said Blackburn should have contacted Tartt to deal with the city, since Tartt now owns the sign.

Forsdick said he notified Blackburn that Tartt was sold the rights to the sign on Feb. 15.

“We never received a response back from Mr. Blackburn,” Forsdick said. “It seems he was being vindictive in removing the sign.”

On Tuesday, Tartt filed criminal charges of felony malicious mischief at the Oxford Police Department against Blackburn for removing the sign.

As of this morning, OPD officials said Blackburn has not been arrested or turned himself into OPD.

“It is regrettable that Mr. Tartt chose to file criminal charges over a sign that according to the city was out of compliance and had to be removed,” Alford said in the statement. “Mr. Blackburn complied with the directive from the city of Oxford and certainly had no intent to destroy another person’s property.”

Earlier today the website Hottytoddy.com reported that Blake Tartt, “owner and president of NRP-Oxford, filed felony malicious mischief charges today against David Blackburn, owner of Blackburn Communities,” noting that “Blackburn was accused of destroying a property sign near lot 6 of the Oxford Commons area. Blackburn Communities is developing homes in the Oxford Commons subdivision across from Oxford High School.”