Christmas Parade application withdrawn

Today, the first application for the Tulsa Christmas Parade 2012 is being withdrawn.  As the organizer of the 2011 Parade, I had continued throughout the year to plan, organize a volunteer team and prepare for 2012 event.  We filed an event permit September 18.  A day later, former 2011 committee members filed a separate permit and promoted to media a slanderous and factually inaccurate press release.  The choice they offer is to battle or withdraw.  For the best interest of Christmas, we withdraw.

They may proceed with a parade, but between the two efforts, there are dramatic differences.  Those on my team insist that:  1.) Politics have no role in the Tulsa Christmas Parade and 2.) No corporation or individual owns “Tulsa Christmas Parade” as it is a public event that has been held in Tulsa off and on for some 80 odd years by various organizations.

The disputing group’s release September 19 asserted I was an “imposter” in the effort to organize the 2012 Tulsa Christmas Parade.  That assertion contradicts the written record from 2011 as the parade was successfully produced under the permit I filed last year.

An ownership dispute was declared at the first meeting after the 2011 parade when Mark Croucher revealed that, contrary to the instructions of the committee, he had registered the business “Tulsa Christmas Parade, LLC” in his name rather than listing all committee members.  Thus, he asserted, that he alone owned the collective effort and result.

Croucher is a frequently-failed political candidate who ran for Oklahoma State Insurance Commissioner and, in the current election cycle, against incumbent Republican Senator Dan Newberry.  Not a fan of Croucher from our work together on the Committee, I wrote a “Disendorsement” (term coined by this writer for someone you once worked with that you do not recommend for public office) analysis you may read by clicking here.  Further, when as a candidate Croucher insulted his own district, I covered his gaff in the story “Candidate calls western district ‘armpit of Tulsa.'”

A side-story not previously revealed is Croucher’s argument at the 2011 Parade’s first press conference.  Croucher insisted in physical confrontation that a Christian Flag be placed as backdrop with the inflatable Santa and Christmas Tree for media to photograph.  I countered that the flag was not universally accepted as a Christmas symbol and that critics would see it as a Crusader Symbol thus gist for criticism.

Croucher as a radical Republican is more comfortable with the John Birch Society and Ron Paul groups than with regular Republicans.  There are more stories others may write about his campaign funding and integrity, but he is an insurance agent and used car dealer very angry with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act because it directly impacts his insurance business.

Another member of last year’s committee, Josh Mcfarland, apparently wrote the “Imposter” press release and mentioned within it that “100 percent of the remaining proceeds were gifted to Love Heals Veteran’s Recovery Center, a shelter for substance abusive veterans” on Tulsa’s west side.  That ministry has also contracted with Mcfarland’s company “Red Dog Construction” to build a dormitory for the veterans.  Sadly, at last report, they had no money to pay him for that construction work he said cost $35,000.00.  The photograph to the right shows Mcfarland meeting with Love Heals Veteran’s Recovery Center at their offices.  What funds from last year’s parade came back to Mcfarland as payment for construction work is not known.

McFarland fancies himself a political operative and most recently worked on Ken Walker’s successful campaign for State House and the primary election effort for Jim Bridenstine.  He has also been engaged in State Senate races and a governor’s race in years past.

The third member of last year’s parade committee also mentioned in the “Imposter” release is Eddie Huff, a contributor to a local morning radio talk show and also an insurance agent.  Huff requested the responsibility of contacting churches to solicit their involvement last year, but never made one call that he reported back to the committee.  Fortunately, many churches came to participate in the parade by their own initiative.  Huff did speak on the radio taking much credit for the parade.

I was amazed as Huff revealed during committee meetings that he had once been a Radical Leftist and when speaking to a college group years ago, started just uttering Leftist phrases as red meat for the crowd.  They loved it, he said, thus he said he learned it didn’t matter what he says.  Some suggest that he is doing the same thing now on right-wing radio, but he does often reference himself as a Black Christian Conservative.

Both Huff and Mcfarland are also involved together to some degree in an online charter school in Oklahoma, but that business relationship and the revenue generated by the effort to each is unclear.

In organizing for 2012, I had submitted the special event application and secured a 501c(3) ministry to accept the Tulsa Christmas Parade as a project so that all donations would have been tax deductible.  Further, I had found a retired business owner experienced in event traffic planning, flow and control to address the expected crowd.  The Tulsa Hills Shopping Center owners had also promised to cover much of the operational expenses.

Additionally, attorneys with multiple firms assert that I have a “torturous interference” claim against the disputing committee, but to sue someone successfully, there has to be a demonstrated loss and as I organized this event as a civic and religious project for no income – there was no gain so there is no loss.

I sincerely thank the volunteers that were working in the 2012 Parade’s advance preparation.  They are a great team and we will work together one day on another project.  We withdraw our permit without compromising on any dispute.

Our simple wish is to end all conflict so that all may enjoy a happy positive Christmas Parade experience at Tulsa Hills Shopping Center.  In the spirit of the season, our team urges all to remember the reason for the season – the birth of Christ.

Merry Christmas Tulsa.