BOk bailout: Other voices

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Comments from elsewhere on the web about the City of Tulsa's payment of a $7.1 million Great Plains Airlines debt it did not owe:

KFAQ's Chris Medlock was a City Councilor the last time someone tried to get the City to pay for the Great Plains mess. Here's what he had to say when the news of the bogus lawsuit and settlement emerged on Wednesday:

Word is that Friday morning she will meet with the Tulsa City Council in a special meeting to inform them of the deal. She will be using her full authority to bind the city to a contract, so she can act without the approval of the City Council.

On Thursday Medlock spelled out whythe Council's hands were tied

This surveying of the Sinking Fund is considered to be a "ministerial" action which a previous City Attorney, Alan Jackere told the Council when I was a member, that the council is duty bound to certify the figures, if they are true....

The last time the council voted down a "ministerial" action was when it voted not to approve the plat for the F&M Bank that was eventually built at 71st and Harvard. When the Council took that action, F&M filed suit against the councilors individually, threatening their personal assets. Since it took a majority of councilors to deny the plat, a majority of the council were named in the suit. As such, no majority of the council could be mustered to vote to give the councilors [me included] the legal services of City Legal. As such, each councilor was forced to hire their own counsel.

On his Thursday show, Medlock played audio from that morning's TAIT board meeting in which board member Dewey Bartlett credited Mayor Kathy Taylor with working out a settlement with the Bank of Oklahoma. In other words, she wasn't responding to someone suing the City; she was the driving force behind adding the City to the lawsuit.

Steve Roemerman attended Thursday's Council meeting and has photos. He reports that Taylor was unwilling, as she has been throughout her term of office, to face the public or the Council and answer for her decisions:

That leads us to last night's Council meeting. Mayor Taylor showed up for her Mayor's Report, and gave a quick explanation of why Tulsa had to pay this money. She said "This lawsuit has been following Tulsa for years." This is not entirely true because Tulsa was not part of this suit until recently...June 25 recently! Unless 1 day = over a year somehow, "years" is not how I'd put it...The truth is that Tulsa, and the Mayor's office in particular, have been following this suit for years, eager to give BOK money that we don't owe.

When she was finished, Taylor abruptly left, basically telling the Council that a lawyer would answer any further questions they had when it came time to vote on the release of the funds. She did not stick around and listen to the gallery of concerned citizens who went to the trouble of coming down to the council, she left!

Taylor, BOK, TAIT, and their lawyers say this is a good deal for Tulsa. I'm not entirely sure I buy that. If it were, this deal would have been made in the light of day, and there would have been no rush to push it through, in just 3...THREE short little days. I call Shenanigans!

Given the rush to get this done right before the end of a quarter and the end of the City's fiscal year, you have to think some executive at the Bank of Oklahoma would have been in legal jeopardy without this settlement.

Dave Schuttler provides a refresher course on Great Plains with video from the last push to settle this in 2005. In one video, Medlock said instead of preemptively bailing things out, we should let it go to court and have people testify under oath. He mentions handwritten notes from then City Attorney Martha Rupp Carter about the lien on the "collateral" -- Air Force Plant No. 3 -- when the VP of BOk asked for the original paperwork, she wrote that all she had was a forgery.

In another video on that same entry, Jim Mautino mentions being called to the office of Stan Lybarger, president of BOk. Mautino took city attorneys Larry Simmons and Drew Rees with him to the meeting. Lybarger told them that he had twice turned down the Great Plains loan, but relented because then Mayor Susan Savage gave him "assurances." This would be the same Savage who gave "assurances" to the City Council at the time that transfering AFP3 to the Tulsa Industrial Authority would not expose the City to any liability in the Great Plains financing deal.

(Related to that, following Thursday's pre-meeting, Councilor Bill Christiansen -- who, as an airport tenant, recused himself -- pointed out to me that we don't know to what degree BOk may be culpable in this loan default.)

In another video from 2005, Medlock talks about then-Mayor Bill LaFortune relenting from his push to pay off BOk. He also talked about the odd legal arrangements in the TIA-TAIT lawsuit.

And here is video from last night, featuring north Tulsa businesswoman Sharla Walker, who speaks about the immorality of give BOk $7.1 million when north Tulsa needs police, pools, groceries; Jack Henderson explaining why he could not with clear conscience vote for this giveaway. Henderson said he was sick and tired of people being afraid to go to court.

Schuttler writes:

There was plenty of upset citizens attending the council meeting and plenty of other worthy statements and I'll get more out into the internet with time. I think the best way for everyone to voice the opinions now is to cancel your Bank of Oklahoma account. Don't worry they can afford it and it won't hurt them much and you might not get that dirty look the next time you pull out your BOK card. Mayor Taylor will hopefully disappear soon now that this deal is done. Then again she might have more deals ahead but Mr. Baker leaving this week might be a sign of something but then again who knows until the day before.

I hope Mr Turner was correct about the OIG [FAA Office of Inspector General] coming back with tonights deal. Especially since the city still owes 70 plus homeowners their easements after the FAA decision about the money spent by Cinnabar, after the airport officials told them to stop working on those houses when funding ran out. Time will tell and much more money will be spent.

Schuttler also announced a Mayor Taylor sign contest. Steve Roemerman has Taylor holding a $7 million check made out to BOk. That's XonOFF's entry up above.

Finally, here's an analysis of the situation by
Friendly Bear on TulsaNow's public forum:

The promoters of Great Plains Airlines, who have all left town by now, had pitched their "Direct Flights to the Coasts" deal to 2nd tier cities like Wichita and Tulsa.

All the other cities had the sense to turn them down.

Then, the promoters used a network of gifted grifters to garner $30 million in State Tax Credits courtesy of their lobbyist Martha Erling Frette.

Then, got TAIT to pledge 22 acres of land right in the heart of the airport to the bank.

Then, in exchange for $600K in free advertising, they made World Publishing Co. the largest equity owner of GPA, despite today's Tulsa World's repeated Half-Truth that World Publishing only owned 3% of the shares.

PREFERRED shares are not counted the same way as the common stock.

Repeat: The World Publishing company was the single largest equity owner of the airlines. And, that ownership interest bought GPA many, many favorable "news" articles right up to the point when the airline crashed.

WHY didn't anyone exercise some adult leadership over the promoters when the first planes they acquired, they leased two airplanes that were incapable of flying non-stop to either coast.

THAT was a serious RED FLAG.

In a Banana Republic like Tulsa, a few immensely rich families like the Lortons, the Helmerichs, the Kaisers, the Warrens, the Siegfrieds, the Flints, the Rooneys, and the Schusterman's have an influence far, far in excess of what is healthy for what we mistakenly persist in calling our "democracy".

It isn't really a democracy.

It is a Banana Republic.

It only has the edifices of a democracy:




These ruling Oligarch families select our political leaders, the Mayor and a majority of our city councilors.

Their paid paladins like Cameron and Reynolds populate our city boards, commisions and authorities (like TAIT, TMUA, TARE, TIA, TDA, etc.), doing their bidding, and breaking our backs with bad, bad deals like the Trash-to- Energy Plant, clean water piped at cost to subsidize development of our suburbs, Great Plains Airlines, an arena sole-sourced to the Flint-Rooney Oligarchia Familias, etc., etc., etc.

Very scarily, they also select our District and Federal Court judges.

Newly appointed Federal judge Gregory Frizzell is Senator Inhofe's "dear" friend.

Really scary if you are foolish enough or unlucky enough to have a legal tangle with the local Oligarchia Familias.

Their wholly-owned District Judge Jane Wiseman, took all of FIVE minutes to rule that a log-rolled 2003 Vision 2025 ballot, that figuratively sugar-coated voter rat poison, was actually not a log-rolled ballot.

Don't believe your eyes. Believe the judge.

Dear Judge Wiseman's reward:

Shortly thereafter, rewarded with a state Appellant Judgeship.

Welcome to the Banana Republic of Tulsa.

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» Who convinced Coburn? from BatesLine

Sen. Tom Coburn was on with 1170 KFAQ's Pat Campbell this morning explaining his decision to vote for the $700 billion bailout. It was strange to hear Coburn acknowledge that this bill might not work, that this bill didn't address the underlying causes... Read More


Pamela said:

If I could I would refinance my BOK mortgage with another company. That is the only cash these slimy people are getting from me. I am absolutely furious.

I'm so glad that they added the afternoon program on KFAQ. We are getting a lot more information in a timely manner.

I'm also glad to hear you on there. We would be toast with the information on KFAQ.

It's pretty obvious that she knows she is doing questionable things when she would not stay to listen to the people she was elected to serve.

I hope and people that enough people raise enough hell to take care of this.

Pamela said:

I'm seriously asking this. Did the Tulsa Whirled report on this payoff? I use their RSS feed to read their lies. I did not see anything on this yesterday.

Michael said:
Michael, What is the type of lawsuit that was mentioned on KFAQ that the Tulsa citizens could file? There was some mention that the settlement would be 3 times the current settlement, approx. $21 million, and the Plaintiff can recieve 10% of that settlement! If the timing is correct, and this is a viable option, someone needs to file this thing on Monday! Please fill us in on this information. Thanks!
S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

I posted at the site since that's where the grafitti blank originates. But, I saw it here. So I'll post it here too.

It's known as a "qui tam" action. The legal basis under Oklahoma law is Oklahoma Statutes, Title 62, Sections 372 and 373. Citizens for Fair and Clean Government, headed by Larry Wilson and David O'Connor, filed such an action when Mayor Bill LaFortune tried to get the city to pay this back in 2005. (They don't seem to have a web presence any more. If anyone has contact info for them, please let me know.)

Mark Author Profile Page said:

The qui tam action is a tough legal case. But it seems to me that there’s enough there to motivate some hungry (or not so hungry) lawyer to take what could be a career-making case.

A case under Section 372 is premised on an “officer” of the city “ordering or directing” the payment of money “in settlement” of any claim “known” to such officer to be “fraudulent or void”.

With respect to the BOK settlement, the qui tam lawsuit can be filed against either (1) the “officer” who “orders or directs” payment and/or (2) any “person” “for whose benefit” the money was paid.

As far as “officers” go, it is ironic that the case may be stronger against Council members who voted to authorize payment than it is against the Mayor – the Mayor will claim that she only approved “settlement”, not “payment”; whereas a good case can be made that the Council “ordered” and/or “directed” payment of that settlement.

The more intriguing potential defendants are those “for whose benefit” the settlement money was paid. These could potentially include BOK and its officers at the time of the loan. This is where Michael’s theory of a motivation fueled by the fear of FIRREA may be very important.

The toughest part of the suit may be proving that the settlement was “fraudulent” or “void” AND that the officers and/or beneficiaries knew it.

Any “resident taxpayer” can bring the suit; and I read the statute to provide for a potential recovery of $28.4 million = actual damage ($7.1 m.) + penalty ($21.3 m. (treble the damage). So I’d say there’s enough at stake and enough deep pockets at risk to get an attorney motivated on this one!

mikewardok Author Profile Page said:

I would love to see a flowchart showing the relationships between all the players in this action. This thing stinks to high heaven! Taylor-BOK-Dexter, etc. I would do it, but I don't have the time, or all the info. Anyone wanna take this on? I just got off of the phone after a 45 minute conversation with my Brother-In-Law, a retired attorney, and he was simply amazed with this. He does believe that a case could and probably will be brought, and as Mark stated above, BOK officers are probably going to be the easiest to attach this claim to. Looking forward to the next 10 years that this thing is probably going to take!!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 27, 2008 11:44 PM.

Councilors, this is a test was the previous entry in this blog.

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