Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Delayed Departure: Tulsa Airport Trust Tables Trustee Decision for Now

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Delayed Departure: Tulsa Airport Trust Tables Trustee Decision for Now

Article excerpt

TULSA - The Tulsa Airport Improvement Trust is shopping for a place to park $173 million in bond money.

On Thursday's agenda, TAIT was slated to approve an agreement to make UMB Bank NA the trustee for the bond money, or long-term debt.

However, when the item came up for a vote, Airports Director Jeff Mulder sought a delay. First, the board agreed to move the agenda item to the end of the meeting. Following a 35-minute executive session, however, the board voted unanimously on Mulder's recommendation to delay a decision.

"Officials with BancFirst have asked that staff give them the opportunity to discuss their qualifications before we take action," Mulder said. "So, I would recommend withdrawing the item."

The airport sought proposals for banking services a year ago. Proposals came from BancFirst, Bank of Commerce, Bank of Oklahoma and UMB.

"But we did not interview banks," Mulder said.

BancFirst has asked for a chance to discuss the issue with the airport staff, Mulder said.

"I decided we ought to take a step back and give them an opportunity," Mulder said.

The board also instructed the airport staff to seek information from area banks about meeting TAIT's commercial banking needs, including deposits and electronic transfer services.

"We need to be able to cut our own checks," said Carl Remus, deputy director of administration and finance.

At the same time that TAIT is looking for banks to handle its debt and commercial banking services, it is embroiled in a $15.6 million lawsuit with the Bank of Oklahoma.

Bank of Oklahoma remains TAIT's trustee, handling the $173 million worth of bonds. It also provides TAIT's commercial banking services.

"But it is not as efficient," Remus said.

The lawsuit is related to a loan BOk made to the now-defunct Great Plains Airlines in 2000. The original amount of the lawsuit was about $7 million, but interest and fees have ballooned the amount to more than $15 million.

This month TAIT, which is the defendant in the lawsuit, won a 10- day extension, to Sept. …

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