Small world, isn't it?

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I'm reluctant to post this, because it could be read as conspiracy-mongering, but I was just fascinated by all the interconnections evident in a single Tulsa World story about a new professorship at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

The new chair in energy law is being endowed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation in honor of Frederic Dorwart, described in the story as the president of GKFF and its longtime attorney. Dorwart is the attorney for Bank of Oklahoma, of which George Kaiser is chairman.

(Dorwart represented the Tulsa Industrial Authority in its suit against the Tulsa Airport Improvement Trust, dealing with TAIT's commitment to buy land owned by TIA in the event of a default by Great Plains Airlines on a loan from BOk, guaranteed by TIA. Great Plains went bust, the FAA said TAIT couldn't use passenger service fees to buy the land, leaving TIA with no way to pay back the money that Great Plains owed. So TIA sued TAIT. The suit was expanded in June 2008 to include the City of Tulsa. City Attorney Deirdre Dexter, a former Dorwart firm lawyer, agreed to settle within a day or so of the city's addition to the suit.)

The story quotes the dean of the law school, Janet Levit. Janet's husband Ken Levit is executive director of GKFF. The story goes on to note:

In May, the Kaiser Foundation donated nearly $40 million to TU. The gift included a low-interest loan to help the university begin construction on the Roxana Rozsa and Robert Eugene Lorton Performance Center, as well as money for the Energy Policy Institute and a student volunteer center.

So Kaiser's generosity made it possible to move ahead with a building named in honor of the former publisher of the Tulsa World (and the father of the current publisher) and his wife. (It appears from this Collegian story that construction of the center had been postponed because of the economy.) The story continues:

Dorwart is president of the advisory board of the TU Undergraduate Research Challenge and is an organizer of the Tulsa Stadium Trust Improvement District.

He was an organizing trustee of the Tulsa Community Foundation and a co-founder of the International Society of Energy Advocates.

Just to be clear, this new endowed chair in energy law is a very good thing, both for TU and for Tulsa. Energy law is an important field, and it's a natural fit for a university with a world-renowned petroleum engineering department.

But the interconnections evident in this one news story are fascinating.

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2 Comments

XonOFF said:

I see nothing unusual here. That's the way ALL things work around here. GOB Club.

Brooksider Author Profile Page said:

Good God! Together with the report on OKC mayor being hired by Ackerman McQueen makes it all sound so incestuous. Even if everyone involved has the highest integrity (& I honestly don't question that) the apparent conflict of interest is just... blinding. Maybe that's what happened. The media was blinded.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 29, 2009 11:56 PM.

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