East promoted the Great Plains deal for Savage’s administration with enthusiasm and multiple assurances of its propriety. Abetted by the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, the Tulsa World, former Tulsa radio personality John Erling with his lobbyist wife Margaret, and the local public relations firm of Schnake Turnbo Frank, many of Tulsa’s wealthy – including the publishing family of the Tulsa World – invested their personal money in the scheme. In general, this could be called the “Elitist Democrat Airline Fraud” – a mistake which Tulsa taxpayers now must cover.
To fund admirable bi-coastal convenience, the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust guaranteed a $30 million loan from the Bank of Oklahoma by mortgaging city property – the former Air Force Plant No. 3. In case of a default, the trust was to purchase the plant site for the amount of indebtedness, but the Federal Aviation Administration’s published rules prevented the sale.