Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bridge Behind Mayor's Legal Department Shake-Up?

Take a good look at the woman in the photograph to the right, because she might just be the next Tulsa City Attorney and the savior of Infrastructure Ventures, Inc.'s Bixby bridge project, if Mayor Kathy Taylor gets the support she needs from the Tulsa City Council.

Who is she? She's Nancy Jane Siegel, who currently serves as Mayor Taylor's Chief Counsel. See link.

A story in the February 28, 2006 edition of the Tulsa World, listed Siegel's live-in partner (husband?) Daniel E. Holeman, as a $5,000 maximum contributor to Taylor's mayoral campaign. On-line records show Siegel and Holeman as both residing at 115 East 24th Street, in Tulsa.

Beside being the Mayor's chief legal advisor, Siegel, is also a committee member, along with Taylor, of a posh Philbrook Museum group that specializes in wine tastings. Other members of the group include Bob and Roxanna Lorton (World Publishing), Becky Frank (Scnake Turnbo & Frank) and both Chip McElroy and Howard Barnett, who recently were leaders of a group seeking to change the make up of Tulsa's City Council to allow for three at-large councilors.

Siegel was also recently a board member of the liberal Tulsa Interfaith Alliance.

Just a week and a half after a meeting was held to discuss the proposed Bixby Bridge project, Taylor placed two vocal advocates for defending Tulsa's position in opposition to the bridge on administrative suspension. The meeting, which included Taylor, representatives of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and former Tulsa mayor Terry Young, was reportedly held to discuss what could be done to end the stalemate that has kept the public/private partnership proposed by Infrastructure Ventures Inc. (IVI) which seeks the new bridge over the Arkansas River near 121st & Yale Ave, from going forward.

Terry Young, is a principal at Cinnabar Services, which also employs IVI CEO Bill Bacon.

Today's Tulsa World story detailing [well...uh...sketching is more like it] Taylor's stunning move of placing the top two attornies [Alan Jackere and Larry Simmons] in the city's legal department on paid suspension, is a pretty strong indication that the mayor wants to name her own City Attorney. Her Sunday afternoon summoning of Jackere and Simmons was obviously timed to deliver the suspensions when City Hall was empty of other employees.

Taylor is hoping that the City Council will support her move to revise the Civil Service process to make it easier to hire City Hall outsiders, who might be more loyal to the mayor. Originally characterized as necessary to look for a new Chief of Police to replace the retiring Dave Been, the move, if approved by the City Council, would open the door for similar hires in key positions such as the city's top attorney.

In my final year on the Council, both Jackere and Simmons (who have very different styles and legal philosophies from each other), were in agreement on two major issues that I recall; the Bixby Bridge Issue and the position that repayment of a $7.5 Million loan made by Bank of Oklahoma in the Great Plains Airlines debacle would likely result in a Qui Tam action against the Council.

Mayor Taylor, then Oklahoma's Secretary of State also served on the Board of Directors for Bank of Oklahoma.

The Tulsa World's story on the proposed changes in hiring took great care to not mention Civil Service until the fourth paragraph, because such a move against the process designed to prevent political hiring might be met with resistance from her own party's Labor wing. The World wrote:
The revisions, set for a City Council vote Thursday, were written in an
attempt to clarify a policy that a district court has ruled requires internal
hiring. The city is appealing the court's ruling.

The hiring proposals also come as Taylor prepares to begin her search
for a replacement for Police Chief Dave Been, who is retiring next year.

Last week, Taylor asked the Civil Service Commission to approve her
revisions, which she calls clarifications that reflect "long-standing policy

Taylor was unavailable for comment.

Some City Hall observers postulate that next to the Mayor, the City Attorney's position in the most powerful job in Tulsa's government.

Obviously, Taylor would like to have someone in the position that is both loyal to her and more in line with her agenda.

Despite signing a pledge during the campaign to oppose the Bixby Bridge, recently Taylor has been seen as softening her position. Many postulate that she would love to see some resolution to the stalemate that would provide her political cover in advance of a speculated challenge of Rep. John Sullivan in the 2008 elections. An opinion from the City Attorney publicly advising the Mayor and Council that Tulsa's prospects of defeating the alliance formed by the cities of Jenks and Bixby would be unlikely, might give Taylor the cover she seeks.

However, it is very unlikely that either Jackere or Simmons would ever render such an opinion. As such, they have become in my opinion, a liability to Taylor's ambitions.

Nobody ever accused Jackere and Simmons of being buddies, or even loosely aligned. Simmons was one of four Legal Department employees that applied for the City Attorney's position in 2005. At the time, then Mayor Bill LaFortune made it clear that he wanted to appoint Jackere, rather than any of the four who applied for the post via the city's civil service process. LaFortune ultimately rejected the four applicants as being unqualified for the position and appointed Jackere.

Larry Simmons had wide support among the City Council [including my endorsement] and over twenty years of service to the city. This support is probably why Taylor needed to not just eliminate Jackere from his position, but also take out Simmons, who would make a very strong internal candidate.

Here's hoping the current Council sees the truth and honors their pledges to oppose the bridge issue wherever is pops up. In this case, it is masquerading as a not-so-minor change in the City's hiring procedures.

Siegel is a 1983 graduate of the University of Tulsa College of Law. Perhaps coincidentally, contentious Water Board member Lou Reynolds is 1982 graduate of TU Law.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fred Jordan Divorced By Wife

For over a year now, House District 69 candidate Fred Jordan has been selling himself as a former marine who supports conservative family values. However, he has not let voters in on the fact that his wife, Kyndra Brooke Litrell Jordan has filed for and been granted a divorce from her Jenks homebuilder husband.

In fact, sources tell me the former Mrs. Jordan quickly took up residency downtown, renting a loft in a trendy downtown development that was developed by Jay Helm. Helm, you might remember, serves on the F&M Bank Board of Directors.

A quick check of his web site shows that he is still touting his marriage and his wife as selling points to voters. It states at the top of the home page:

A Native Oklahoman, Fred Jordan Puts Faith and Family First.

Fred Jordan returned to his roots after military service and graduation from law school. Fred and his wife Kyndra have made their home in Jenks where they attend Southern Hills Baptist Church and Fred has taught Sunday school.
But records at the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network website, www.oscn.net, show that their divorce was final on October 20th, 2006. In fact, it was granted in a very speedy fashion, having been initially filed by Mrs. Jordan on September 26th.

You can see the divorce record at the following link:

[Photo Source: http://www.fredjordan.net/photos/1.html]

Don't be fooled by the initials listed. The site lists "B. Jordan" as the petitioner [the one seeking the divorce] and "S. Jordan" as the respondent. The former Mrs. Jordan's full name is as listed above, so "B" apparently stands for "Brooke," which is her middle-name. While he goes by the name Fred, Mr. Jordan's full name is Sidney Fred Jordan. Obviously, "S" stands for Sydney.

You can view OSCN.NET's file on their wedding license by clicking here.

Any speculation that this could be two separate people is swept away by the fact that OSCN.NET includes near the bottom of the page, the following notation:

61995849 Oct 27 2006 2:07:12:320PM
$ 0.00

In fact, our friends at the Tulsa World also reported the divorce filing in their September 27th edition, reporting the following:


Staff Reports, 09/27/2006
Tulsa World (Final Home Edition), Page A11 of
approx. 168 words

Rachelle v. Robert Sr.
Curley, Morio v. Christina.
Espinoza, Deborah v.
Eugene Jr.
Jordan, B. v. S.
Mai, Amanda v. Hao Le.
McCall, Donald v.
Kimberly McKee McCall.

I'll leave the readers to sort out why so much effort was expended to hide this untimely and sad ending to a marriage.

As for myself, I do think any candidate that went so far as to include a photo of his wedding in his campaign literature [so as to show Fred in his uniform, yet again] should have the decency to share with the voters the dissolution of that marriage before elections day. I also think he would remove ambiguous language touting his marital status from his web site.

But that's just me.