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Expo Square President Fired

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After more than two hours in executive session, the board voted to fire Expo Square President Rick Bjorklund. After more than two hours in executive session, the board voted to fire Expo Square President Rick Bjorklund.

Big Splash means big trouble for the CEO of Tulsa's Expo Square. Rick Bjorklund was fired on Tuesday after it was discovered the water park had not paid any of its rent for 2007 and that a check for half of its 2006 rent had not been cashed.

The Expo Square Comptroller, Preston Jackson, was also suspended for two weeks.

News On 6's Steve Berg reports Bjorklund did a lot in a very short time at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. But, now that tenure has come to a very sudden end.

"I move we terminate the CEO effective immediately in conformity with the employment contract between the CEO and the authority," said Randi Miller, Tulsa County Commissioner.

After more than two hours of closed door discussions, the mood was clearly somber. The public facilities authority, made up mostly of county commissioners, voted unanimously to fire Rick Bjorklund, who took over the fairgrounds just two years ago.

The exact reasons though might never be public.

"I'll need to visit with the Expo Square staff attorney and find out what we can discuss and then I will do so," said John Smaligo, Tulsa County Commissioner.

County Commissioner John Smaligo was asked why the Big Splash rent for 2007, about $130,000 was never collected and why a check for part of its 2006 rent, about $68,000 was never cashed,

"There was a tremendous amount of discussion in executive session, and I'm not going to go into specifics on that, whether those questions were asked or any others, and what those answers were. And that's privileged information under the executive session," said Smaligo.

"We've been sending fairgrounds checks since 1951 and none of them ever sat around for 6 months," said Robby Bell, who is the former Bell's Amusement Park Owner.

Former Bell's Amusement Park owner Robby Bell, who was forced off the fairgrounds, thinks there needs to be more answers.

"So, why was that money withheld? Who was involved," asked Bell. "This is not five people's playground. This belongs to the public and it needs to be treated with that kind of respect."

Smaligo says it hasn't been decided if the rent issue will have any effect on Big Splash's lease agreement.

"I directed Expo Square staff to send a letter to demand payment immediately. We are waiting for the receipt of that money," said Smaligo. "As far as anything beyond that, it's something I think the board is going to have to discuss."

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