Bell says midway operator negotiated dibs on amusement park property

Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:07 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Bell's owner Robby Bell says that Murphy Brothers, the current midway operator at the fair grounds, has a clause in their contract for right of first refusal to use Bell's property if the amusement park's lease was not renewed.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:08 AM
Jeff's avatar So my question at this point is why hasn't anyone been sued yet? This is one of several shady things going on that reek of impropriety.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 9:36 AM
beast7369's avatar Yes it certainly does sound like it is improper and bordering on illegal at least the way that I read it. If I were Bell's I would be in touch we with a legal team at this point. At least to protect their investments anyway. If I were Bell's....I would move out anyway just because of all of this shady crap going on....the question is which politician(s) has(ve) their hand(s) in the cookie jar that they shouldn't.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 10:35 AM
rollergator's avatar Starting to think that Bell's just might be able to sue for the cost of relocation...

My wouldn't THAT prove to be costly...and since the *shenanigans* have long-since crossed the line from negligence/incompetence to total greed/corruption, I'm pretty sure the liability carrier for Tulsa County's Public Facilities Authority (aka, the Board) is going to want NO part of paying THIS claim...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 1:45 PM
If Murphy Bros are involved it's more than likely bordering on the improper and illegal, if not outright illegal. The pages of AB used to be filled with latest court battle they were involved in.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:13 PM
Robby Bell has his team of lawyers, but he is going against some big powers as far as lawyers go in Tulsa (Clark Brewster). Clark Brewster was the lawyer that represented the families of the teenagers that were hurt and the one fatality from the Wildcat incident. Mr. Brewster is the one I think who is really behind all of this.

A Good friend of mine saw Robby's mom the other day and she said to "keep her son smiling". I think Robby is beginning to lose hope.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 4:55 PM
I am sorry, but i am not seeing the problem here. Perhaps there is something I am missing that someone could explain.

Anytime anyone has a business on leased property, they run the chance of being shut down if the owner of the property decides not to renew the lease. Whatever kind of business it is. And unfortunately, it is the owner's right to do what they want with their property. There is nothing illegal about that if the lease has expired.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 5:42 PM
super, from what was mentioned in one of the other threads--

the company with the clause in their lease to take over the Bells site "just in case" their lease isn't renewed ---

just happens to be owned by a couple who have made contributions to one of the commissioners---

who just happens to be one of those most outspoken against renewing Bells lease on the grounds that they aren't financially stable enough and don't provide enough income, saying that a parking lot would be a better use of the ground.

So either it's all one big coincidence, or one businessman bribed a politician to help drive his competition out of business, or something in between. Follow?

When two strange events occur, I'll say yeah it's a coincidence. But when it's a series of 4, 5, or 6 events all coming together just the right way to ensure a certain result, you have better odds of hitting the Powerball.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:21 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Yeah, but where's the 'illegal' part? (and that's a legit question)

If it was all done on the up & up (even with ulterior motives) then get out the violin.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:31 PM
Jeff's avatar What RGB describes could be construed as crime depending on what the state's laws say. At the very least they could be unethical, which is enough ground to piss off constituents.

Simply put, you don't work with any company that is a vendor for the government you serve, and if you do, you abstain from any decision making regarding that company. When I worked for a city, I couldn't even accept a ball cap from my vendors, and I wasn't even elected.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:41 PM
rollergator's avatar ^Illegal is if there was ANY "quid pro quo" with regards to voting, lease renewal, or potentially even recommendations made by someone receiving improper benefits...

THEORETICALLY, it is certainly possible that Murphy, Bjorklund, *and* Miller are all in the clear with regards to technical legal issues....HIGHLY doubtful, IMO, but possible.

If nothing is prove-able, then they also come out OK in the end...the voters, well, they'll get their say when elections roll around next time...but even IF (again, highly doubtful) no LAWS were broken, there's still massive improprieties...."res ipsa loquitor".

Let's just PRESUME that everything was on the up-and-up....devil's concigliere, LOL. Wouldn't the *other* businesses occupying the land (including the one in question here, Murphy's) have to ALSO open their books, and provide business plans, financial statements, etc., under the same argument?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Yeah, I see what you guys are saying, but ethics and the law are two different things.

Seems to me the second that lease got signed, it became an eviction notice. Do you put blame on the guy who created the clause or the guy who agreed to it?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 10:24 PM
Which lease are you talking about though, Gonch? It's the Murphy lease that I have the problem with. Paraphrasing... if for some reason the other amusement operator at the fairgrounds (Bell) does not have its lease renewed, then lessee #2 (Murphy) has first crack at that piece of ground.

Of course Lessee #2 isn't going to turn that deal down.

On the surface it seems like a fair deal. Lessee #2 expands to fill the void left behind when Lessee #1 leaves. Which would be a good thing except for the fact that the Lessor (fairgrounds assn or county) is-- IMO-- creating an undue burden on Lessee #1 which it can't meet in order to hold onto its lease. To top it off, Lessee #2 has made contributions to certain elected persons representing the Lessor. It smacks of impropriety.

To put it another way-- this is like a town revoking one retailer's business permit, then allowing another retailer to expand to make up for the lost business.

Your statement about ethics and law being two different things is funny but sadly true, but it shouldn't be that way. On a lighter note, dontcha just love it when gator speaks Latin? Brings out the Gomez Addams in a person. :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 12:49 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Ok, now I'm following. :)

Still not sure anything was done that is technically punishable. Shady going ons? Possibly...hell, maybe even probably.

Again, breaking the law and manipulating the situation to your advantage aren't instantly the same thing...and the best of the best know how to do the latter without doing the former.

To me, the only reason it's questionable is because it's a government thing (which I suppose is the basic idea of Jeff's post)...and the fact that the favor was given at the expense of someone else.

But I have no problems with 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' situations in life on most levels. To me it separates the folks who mull about complaining about corruption and harboring a distain for those in positions of power and those who actually get those positions and power.

The real problem started the day 'politician' became a career and not a civil service. :)

(Trying hard to stay the bad guy here)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 9:49 AM
Ah ok. Thanks. I missed the part that the midway operator has financial ties to the commissioner.

Sadly, that's the problem with this country today and why it has headed in the wrong direction. Almost every politician has been paid for by some corporate interest. And unforunately, it is required just to run for an office anymore.........but back on the topic.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:46 AM
janfrederick's avatar

The real problem started the day 'politician' became a career and not a civil service.

When was that? When Hobbittses walked Middle Earth? ;)

Anyway, even if it is perfectly legal, the voters can throw them out of they stink too much.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 11:38 AM
rollergator's avatar ^But by then (i.e., next election day), Tulsa will have suffered the consequences, and the damage will be irreversible...

The amount of *reform* necessary to take our government BACK from the politicians is virtually unachievable in our current two-party system...choosing between liars and thieves isn't REALLY the kind of decision we need to be making in a voting booth... ;)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 12:17 PM
janfrederick's avatar Yah, you have a point. I think a lot of politicians rely on voters' short term memory.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 12:49 PM
Just one other little item to add to all this................this was all released to the public the day after the last elections. So they knew to keep it quite until the public had already voted.

Once the vote was cast, counted, and final, then it was published that they were not going to renew the lease.

I really don't think the fair board even considers that the three top ride attractions at the fair are owned by Bell's. And it is Bell's rides that make the Tulsa Fair unique to the other fairs in the region. You take away Zingo, the log ride, and the sky ride.............all you have is a large carnival.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 5:30 PM
Gonch, I totally agree with you that there may be nothing illegal here-- although there is plenty that doesn't seem quite right. Again the problem with that is the people who create the laws (that might or might not be broken) are the same people engaging in the shady and questionable behavior.

Too often, those with the power to write and enforce laws manipulate them in their favor. They know exactly what they can get away with while still acting "legally."

If Murphy's gets to lease Bells' site, it would be really interesting to see if their contributions to Commissioner Miller increase as a result of their new prosperity.


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