To make matters worse, since the Mayor is pursuing a settlement, rather than letting a judge decide the case [and any liability the city might have] the $7 million would not be able to come from the city's Sinking Fund, which is from where most judgments against the city are paid. Where "judgments" are paid...not "settlements." Since we can't, by law, tap the Sinking Fund without a judgment, we must draw from the Operating Fund. That is, if LaFortune has his way.
What's the difference you ask? Well, if the money were to come from the Sinking Fund, at worst the average citizen might see a minor increase in their property taxes. However, if we take $7 million from our Operating Fund, then you're going to see it come out of streets, pools, salaries and/or cops on the streets.
So what should make the average taxpayer go, "Hmmmmm?"
How about the fact that two of Bill LaFortune's Campaign Committee members also serve on the Board of Directors for Bank of Oklahoma? In fact, one of them is his uncle. Here's the list:
GEORGE B. KAISER ChairmanRemember when we were going through meeting after meeting last Spring, attempting to pass an ethics ordinance for the city? Remember Sam Roop saying that the administration was in favor of "good ethics," but that there were some items that needed to be changed before the Mayor would guarantee he wouldn't veto the ordinance? Would it surprise you to know that one of the "deal killers" Mr. Roop imparted to us was the requirement to disclose or recuse yourself from any city action that included a financial reward for any family member within a "3rd Degree of Consanguinity?"
V. BURNS HARGIS Vice-Chairman
GREGORY S. ALLEN, C. FREDERICK BALL JR., SHARON J. BELL, PETER C. BOYLAN III, CHESTER CADIEUX III, JOSEPH E. CAPPY, WILLIAM E. DURRETT, ROBERT G. GREER, DAVID F. GRIFFIN, E. CAREY JOULLIAN IV, JUDITH Z. KISHNER, DAVID L. KYLE, ROBERT J. LAFORTUNE, STANLEY A. LYBARGER, STEVEN J. MALCOLM, PAULA MARSHALL-CHAPMAN, JAMES A. ROBINSON, KATHRYN TAYLOR
Consanguinity is defined as;
con·san·guin·i·ty nounA 1st Degree relationship would be a spouse or child. A 2nd Degree relationship is a sibling or a parent. So what is a 3rd Degree relationship? That would be an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin.
1. Relationship by blood or by a common ancestor.
2. A close affinity or connection
The "Gang of Four" was pushing hard for the ethics ordinance to require disclosure to a 3rd degree of consanguinity. After all, I have a niece who lives in my house. Could anyone argue that voting on a matter on which she might financially benefit would not constitute and ethical conflict of interest? In fact, Oklahoma law prohibits any notary public who is within a 3rd degree of consanguinity of a candidate from notarizing an absentee ballot favoring the candidate.
But the administration held its ground on "2nd Degree or forget it."
Is it too cynical for a citizen to wonder if the administration's intransigence had anything to do with the impending settlement of BOK's loan in the Great Plains Airlines matter? After all, people have been discussing the city's exposure to potential liability for years. How early do you think Bill LaFortune's friends and family with ties to Bank of Oklahoma might have begun talking to him about potential solutions and moral obligations?
I don't know if such things make YOU go, "Hmmmm..." but they sure do me.