Great Plains Airlines: July 2004 Archives

By a 5-3 vote last Thursday night the Council established an investigation of airport operations. Henderson, Medlock, Turner, Roop, and Mautino voted in favor; the usual members of the Cockroach Caucus (Baker, Sullivan, Neal) voted against, seemingly on the grounds that it would be effective at uncovering wrongdoing. Bill Christiansen expressed his support of the investigation but abstained -- his business is an airport tenant. If you don't believe elections make a difference, look at that list and realize that the vote would have failed if David Patrick and Art Justis had been reelected instead of Roscoe Turner and Jim Mautino.

The Mayor's response has been interesting. Not long ago he had threatened to veto the investigation unless the Council passed his annexation plan. Now he says he's fully committed to the investigation and has his own fraud investigator looking into it, and he wants to see coordination and cooperation between the Council's investigation and his own. A cynic might wonder about the commitment of someone who was willing to treat an investigation into fraud, waste, and abuse as a bargaining chip. An even more cynical cynic might wonder if the purpose of hiring an investigator and asking for cooperation was to be able to learn where the investigation was headed and to tip someone off before the investigation gets too close.

In any case, the Council's investigation will move forward. The question now is who will make up the committee. I would hope for a lineup of Roop, Medlock, and Turner. Medlock in particular has the kind of analytical mind and an eye for spotting patterns and connections that the investigation will need. He will not shy away from asking tough questions and cross-examinination, as we saw in the F&M Bank hearing. I don't know how much confidence I'd have in an investigation that didn't include him.

There have been some calls to exclude Roop and Turner from the committee since they voted for the city's support of the Great Plains deal. I don't see that as a problem, and I'd be concerned that they would be replaced by other councilors who won't be as determined to get to the bottom of things. Roop and Turner believed at the time that Great Plains would be a good thing for Tulsa; they realize now something went terribly wrong and so they support the investigation, which will not, in any event, be limited to the Great Plains deal. In no event should a councilor who voted against the investigation be made a member of the panel -- I would be concerned that said councilor would obstruct rather than aid the investigation. And keep in mind that the Council will only be investigating -- any leads on criminal activity would be forwarded to the appropriate prosecutor.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Great Plains Airlines category from July 2004.

Great Plains Airlines: November 2004 is the next archive.

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