It is a troubling question. Is the City of Tulsa more or less corrupt than the Daily Newspaper supporting City Councilors breaking the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act?
It really does take both to so invert reality as to describe violations of law leading to a lawsuit as a “ruckus” on the front page of the Easter Sunday Newspaper.
How dare some question hidden text messages among the Loony Left Council Cartel during an official meeting May 22 while discussing a $10 million expenditure. District 5 City Councilor Grant Miller dared to publicly question money targeted to advance construction of the Gilcrease Museum rather than address homelessness in Tulsa. Just when you thought the Left cared about homeless people living under bridges and in every wooded area of Tulsa.
Official meeting discussions are required to be public. No secret notes electronic or print between public officials (Councilors) are allowed. When Councilor Miller noticed cell phone message notification dings, one Councilor to others during a meeting, he wrote an Open Record Request for the text messages from Councilors Vanessa Hall-Harper (no stranger to legal issues), Lori Decter Wright and Laura Bellis.
Councilor Miller wrote on Facebook, “All I’ve asked for from the start was transparency during Open Meetings. I offered a sit down with the Councilors involved and they refused, choosing instead to threaten litigation. Even after this they were offered the opportunity to admit that texting about city business, privately, among a quorum of the Council is inappropriate. Instead, they have forced a resident of Tulsa to take the matter to the courts. It’s unfortunate, and yet the City of Tulsa itself STILL has the opportunity to condemn private messages regarding city business in Open Meetings and, from their silence, I can only assume they, too, believe that private messages among a quorum of Councilors is appropriate. Just declare what’s right and then do what’s right, that’s all that’s being asked. It’s simple, really. All ego from those involved.” Click here for Councilor Miller’s Facebook.
Multiple postings by Councilor Miller also show a rebuke of Tulsa City Attorney Jack Blair, attempted intimidation by a private attorney representing the Council Cartel and further denial of detailed financial information on city projects and proposals.
As Miller wrote further in part, “what is in the $772M black box that residents will soon vote on? Which contractors will be bullied out of doing business with the city? Which have been given preference for their projects? Which councilors intimidated people wanting to bring new business to the city? Why are certain projects being chosen to the detriment of others? What kind of residents do secret back door deals benefit?”
In an exclusive interview with Tulsa Today, Councilor Miller said, “You don’t need a law degree in order to know that texting privately among a quorum of the Council is a violation of the Open Meeting Act… there have been at least three lawsuits [on Open Records requests] I found from a simple Google search.”
On behalf of Freeman Culver, President of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Attorney Ronald E. Durbin II has filed a lawsuit against Hall-Harper, Bellis and Wright seeking a declaratory judgement from the court finding that the defendants violated the Open Meeting Act by texting during a council committee meetings and that all actions at any City Council meeting be declared invalid if electronic communications were used in violation of the act.
Durbin explained it to the establishment apologist newspaper writer, “So [Rev. Culver] was willing to step up and do something about it, and I was willing to do the work until we got paid from the city. It really is that simple.”
Of course, in Sunday’s paper, the writer droned on about how Councilor Miller works in part for Durbin’s law firm. This issue, however, is wholly about the Public Meeting Act and Miller’s job as City Councilor.
Mayor Poindexter (G.T. Bynum) may be concerned that the city’s 2024 budget and a $772 million wish list, Improve Our Tulsa, may also face transparency. Oh, the shame of it all, showing taxpayers the devil in the financial details of the City of Tulsa is just not allowed by tools posing as journalists. No wonder daily newspaper subscriptions are declining.
Durbin later returned to City Hall asking to inspect all funding records related to the American Rescue Plan Act in addition to that of Gilcrease Museum reconstruction. Surprise, the City of Tulsa was not forthcoming. Durbin filed another lawsuit asserting an Open Record Act violation naming the mayor, city attorney, three security guards, Councilor Christian Bengel and other city employees.
Councilor Miller said, “I’m going to be looking into the number of Open Record requests and how they are being handled by the City of Tulsa in the next few months.”
Is this a “ruckus” or a glorious stand by a growing number of Tulsans to demand transparency and accountability in city business? Will this “upset work of City Council and mayor” and do you care if their delicate natures are distressed by taxpayers gaining a clear picture of tax dollars at work or not? Your comments are welcome below.