Mayor Force One ethics

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When city employees have their travel to conferences and meetings covered by a third-party -- e.g., a foundation or the Tulsa Metro Chamber -- there has to be a vote by the council to accept the travel donation. Steve Roemerman wonders why the same wouldn't be true of Mayor Kathy Taylor donating a ride to a City Councilor on N227KT, her Learjet 31A -- the most recent example being Taylor giving a lift to Councilor David Patrick so he could vote for her downtown ballpark assessment district.

Instead of being more open about the use of her personal aircraft to further her political goals, Taylor has made it harder to track where her jet has been. I can't think of any security or safety reason to withhold that information, particularly if it were delayed by, say, a day. Taylor is a public figure. In the interest of transparency in government,Taylor ought to release monthly flight logs -- where her plane has been, who was on it, and what was the purpose of the trip.

MORE: Chris Medlock learns that the jet belongs not to Kathy Taylor as an individual, but to a Nevada corporation and considers the ethical implications:

The actual owner of the jet is 1132 Investment Co. As the graphic below shows, this is apparently not an Oklahoma corporation, but rather one from Nevada....

Let us further assume that, as the name implies, the company is a for-profit venture. What then makes the use of this jet to fetch loyal councilors any different than if American Airlines had sent a jet up to get Patrick? In both instances, you would have a jet owned and operated by a out-of-state corporation, flying across state lines for the express purpose of bringing a vacationing elected official back home for a key vote.

When I was a city councilor, we were not allowed to accept gifts in excess, if memory serves me right, of $50. By her own admission, Taylor gave Patrick something [a quick and timely trip home] that was far in excess of $50, unless you don't think $4,500 in jet fuel and hours on the road don't rate....

Patrick was not in Colorado on official business. He was there on a semi-vacation tending to private property he owns there. It cost him his own money to get to Colorado, so any expense saved in getting back from private activities is a net benefit to his personal wealth, hence a gift! Or are they telling us that Taylor then spent an additional $4,500 to fly him BACK to Colorado after the meeting?

In a later entry, delving further into this Nevada corporation, Medlock congratulates Taylor on structuring her assets and income to avoid taxes.

Medlock also provides us with the State of Arkansas's policy on a public official accepting a ride on a private jet.

MORE: Steve, a member of the City of Tulsa's Sales Tax Overview Committee, shares the highlights from the July 2008 report.

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4 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

Well, we all know she would have NEVER went to the effort and expense to fly someone back if they were going to vote against her proposal.

That's how Queen T rolls. She's just gittin er done. Isn't this why we elect rich people into office? A less conected, less wealthy Mayor would have never been able to pull it off.

Advantage rich politicians with jets.

What, nobody saw the plutocracy coming?

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

Taylor is doing more to turn off prospective voters in this town than anyone in ten years. She is showing that government works for the privileged one percent in this town.

Anonyomous said:

Interesting to look at the timeline regarding the ballpark vote and SemGroup bankruptcy with BOK in the middle of all of it. BOK announced today they are writing off $87 million because of SemGroup (not that the Tulsa World will cover this story) and from their release, acknowledge they knew about the potential losses (at least partially) when earnings were released on July 15th. Did BOK know that 25% of the ballpark funding was about to vanish? Did Stan wink at Kathy and encourage the "urgent" vote because he knew losing $7.5 million would set the whole plan back? Inquiring minds would like to know...but you know the Tulsa World won't be doing any investigative reporting into this one.....

David OConnor said:

That I believe was one of the reasons for the urgency of the 7.1 million dollars It is to draw attention away and cover up. BOK can take a hit for 87 million but not 7.1. I would encourage those that have the know how to dig in deep and watch the money flow from the airport to the arena.Iam just saying....

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 24, 2008 12:37 PM.

Randi Miller campaign contributions: those "special agenda citizens" was the previous entry in this blog.

Sally Bell campaign contributions is the next entry in this blog.

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