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Race For Tulsa Mayor Goes Negative, Prompts Threats Of Litigation

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It all goes back to the bankruptcy of Great Plains Airlines and former Mayor Kathy Taylor having the city pay off a bad loan for the airline. It all goes back to the bankruptcy of Great Plains Airlines and former Mayor Kathy Taylor having the city pay off a bad loan for the airline.
Mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen is making it a campaign issue, and Taylor is threatening to sue him over spreading what her lawyer says is false information. Mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen is making it a campaign issue, and Taylor is threatening to sue him over spreading what her lawyer says is false information.
Taylor said: "His description of the city's exposure and involvement is completely incorrect... We needed to act to protect citizens and to protect jobs at the city's biggest economic generator." Taylor said: "His description of the city's exposure and involvement is completely incorrect... We needed to act to protect citizens and to protect jobs at the city's biggest economic generator."
Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who was on the airport board before he was mayor, supported Taylor's decision. Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who was on the airport board before he was mayor, supported Taylor's decision.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Tulsa mayoral race has hit a turning point and gone negative, with one candidate threatening to sue another.

It all goes back to the bankruptcy of Great Plains Airlines and former Mayor Kathy Taylor having the city pay off a bad loan for the airline. Mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen is making it a campaign issue, and Taylor is threatening to sue him over spreading what her lawyer says is false information.

Greats Plains Airlines went under a long time ago, but the controversy over a city- and state-backed airline continues, now several administrations after most of the bad decisions were made.

Christiansen said he believes there's still blame to go around, for the current mayor and his predecessor.

4/6/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Mayoral Candidates Gear Up For Election Season

"They were both in it, both involved in it, elected to do it, and now the taxpayers are left holding the bag," he said.

Christiansen accused both of his opponents for decisions around paying back a $7 million loan for Great Plains.

Former Mayor Taylor arranged for the loan to be paid off, while Bartlett, who was on the airport board before he was mayor, supported her decision.

"She is the one, single-handedly--without the approval of the council. The council didn't want to do it, the council wouldn't do it. She did it all on her own. And I don't think that's the way it should have been," Christiansen said.

But Taylor doesn't agree with Christiansen's assessment.

Taylor said in statement Monday: "His description of the city's exposure and involvement is completely incorrect... We needed to act to protect citizens and to protect jobs at the city's biggest economic generator."

Mayor Bartlett defends his involvement this way: "In my view, people came out with a good intention that did not forecast 9/11. And when that happened, it really caused a lot of terrible problems in our economy, and certainly in the aviation industry. The problems that resulted as the result of decisions that previous groups had made--we were given the responsibility to clean them up."

But Taylor's lawyer is taking the claims more seriously, threatening to sue over polling questions about Taylor and Great Plains, calling them "false and defamatory statements," and threatening that "litigation is contemplated against you."

But candidate Christiansen said he's not done talking about it.

"The citizens of Tulsa need to know these facts and it will be a campaign issue," Christiansen said.

Former Mayor Taylor didn't make herself available for an interview Monday, but instead referred us to an attorney.

The money for the airline that the city paid out was eventually returned after taxpayers sued over it. There is still outstanding litigation on it, to this day.

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