Great Plains Airlines: July 2005 Archives

Just learned about this today:

Thursday night, after quietly posting notice 48 hours in advance, the board of the Tulsa Airport Improvements Trust awarded a contract for the next phase of the Federally-funded airport noise abatement project to Cinnabar Service Company, the same company that had the contract for earlier phases. Because of the late notice, Mayor Bill LaFortune, an ex officio member of the board, could not be present, and his designee, Allen LaCroix, Chief Operating Officer of the City, was not permitted to vote on the contract in his stead. Carl Clay, a relatively new appointee to the TAIT board, and a watchdog over airport operations, could not be present. Charles Sublett, another recent appointee to the TAIT board, abstained from the vote on the contract. The meeting was scheduled to coincided with the Tulsa City Council meeting so that even if councilors learned about it in time, they would be unable to attend. Because it was a special meeting, the meeting was not taped for broadcast on TGOV (Cox Cable channel 24).

So by a 2-0 vote, another $7.8 million (mainly Federal funds, with a small component of locally-collected passenger service fees) was awarded to a company whose principals also happen to be the principals in Infrastructure Ventures, Inc. (IVI), the company seeking to build a toll bridge across the Arkansas River to undeveloped land in the west part of the City of Bixby. Here is a chart of the connections between the players in Cinnabar, IVI, and county government.

The money for this project comes from FAA grants and is to be used either to buy out homeowners in the area affected by airport expansion or to remodel homes to provide sound insulation. The website for the project is called, and the home page has a description of the project and its history. One homeowner in the affected area has documented the sloppy, haphazard work that has been done by Cinnabar and its contractors. You'll find his collection of documents, photographs, and videos here. The concern is that Cinnabar is taking a large sum of money for insulating each house (in some cases more than the house itself is worth), contracting on the cheap to have the work done, and pocketing the difference.

Beyond the concern about the performance of the noise mitigation project itself, the timing of the award is interesting, just as work is set to get underway on the Bixby Bridge. Might the contract award to Cinnabar be used to provide a bit of working capital for IVI? I hope someone is keeping an eye on this, and I hope that once the full complement of the TAIT board is present safeguards will be put in place to provide a full accounting of funds supplied to Cinnabar and to prevent a minority of the board from awarding such a major contract, particularly at a hastily-called special meeting.

I hope the FAA is paying close attention, too.

UPDATE: The amount of the program extension was $7.8 million, not $3 million as I previously wrote. A small portion, either 5% or 10% -- I hear conflicting numbers -- is paid from locally-collected passenger service fees; the remainder comes from FAA grants.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Great Plains Airlines category from July 2005.

Great Plains Airlines: March 2005 is the previous archive.

Great Plains Airlines: September 2005 is the next archive.

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