KOTV investigates Bell's eviction

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I just watched a lengthy investigative piece by KOTV about the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority's decision to boot Bell's from the Fairgrounds. If you've been reading about the issue here and in Urban Tulsa Weekly, there won't be too much that you haven't already heard, but they do a good job of pulling it all the pieces together for the viewing audience -- including the connection with Murphy Brothers, the aggressive marketing campaign by Bell's that got Jerry Murphy angry, and the fact that Bell's, even in their tough last two seasons, paid more in their lease than Big Splash and the Drillers combined.

The piece includes interviews with Robby Bell, Expo Square CEO Rick Bjorklund, and County Commissioner Randi Miller, TCPFA chairman, who pushed for Bell's removal.

I did learn a few new things. I learned that the Murphy family not only gave $5,000 to Randi Miller for her futile campaign for mayor, but they also contributed the same amount to new County Commissioner John Smaligo after he was elected.

Also, Miller admitted that she did NOT ask Murphy Brothers for a business plan when they granted the company a new 10-year midway contract. No competitive bidding was done.

In the piece, you'll see where the ride equipment is stored, you'll get a glimpse of the business plan that Randi Miller said was inadequate (looks professionally done to me, anyway), a certification from a ride vendor that Bell's was approved for financing for a new ride, sketches of the new coaster that was finally approved when the county pulled the plug, and concept sketches for a new park.

If you have Cox Cable, you can catch the replay on channel 53. KOTV's website has the full text of the Terry Hood's story about Bell's Amusement Park, plus photos, including images of excerpts from Murphy Brothers' 1989 and 2006 contracts with the TCPFA. I hope that KOTV will later post video of the story, and I'll link it if they do. (UPDATE: Here's the video for KOTV's story about Bell's Amusement Park.)

UPDATED 2012/09/14 with link to story on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Unfortunately the video was not archived.

Well done, KOTV.

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6 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

I watched that too. I was shocked they didn't give you a by line.

That is probably the first time I've ever seen any local station do any good investigative reporting. Terry Hood did a good job.

JW said:

Well Terry Hood is a marked man now. Those that care should do everything they can to look out for him, so he isn't smeared or stuffed away like Glen Mcintyre was when he embarrassed Krazy Kathy.

XonOFF said:

It was one of the best local investigative journalism pieces I've seen in memory.

Thanks Terry! (Ms. Hood, the 'marked man')

Doesn't someone need to stick a mic in front of John Smaligo and ask the obvious?

This appears to be far from over.

zstyles Author Profile Page said:

Well I have my house for sale, am moving OUT of tulsa to Bixby...so can't wait for the new bells in a new spot!

Its funny I drove by the bells former location and ...big bull dozer's and a bunch of dirt....looks to me like "progress as promised"

sbtulsa said:

1) if they think bell's was a congregating point for restless teens, what do they think a parking lot will be? remember peoria and 51st and memorial, the restless ribbon days?

2) what randi miller got hooked on in the piece was the perception of her not knowing what she was doing. if she in fact contributed to the decision on a business basis, she would have been able to explain the deficiencies in Bell's submission. she didn't have to give it away, but could have expounded on what she wanted to see "more of". my impression was that miller would not know how to read a business plan if one hit her in the nose.

3) miller looked lost because she did not know what those pulling her strings wanted her to say or not say. in other words, she is carrying the water for private interests and she does not think well on her feet.

4) what an image to have going in to the river devel vote.

susan said:

Terry Hood did such a good job on the Bells story you should request her to do a story on the Vision financial plan data. Imagine, if it is that hard to find the information you need Michael what you were requesting and getting the run around, why should the voters in October feel confident about getting taxed?

They should easily be able to show every penny on the information you were requesting and the correct contact person that could provide the Vision financial plan immediately. A good topic to bring up in the UT paper.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 30, 2007 10:18 PM.

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