City Of Tulsa's Ethics Policy In Question After QuikTrip Vote
TULSA, Oklahoma - Questions are being asked about the City of Tulsa's ethics policy.
Thursday night, city councilors approved a rezoning permit for QuikTrip that goes against ordinances in the Pearl District.
The decision came down to just one vote - after a lengthy discussion about a conflict of interest. That vote still stands for the QuikTrip plan.
But citizens and even one city councilor have questioned the ethics policy.
"I don't normally like to mention this kind of thing, but this is a very important issue," said Jamie Jamieson with the Pearl District Association.
The Pearl District lost out to QuikTrip Thursday night in a rezoning battle, but that wasn't the only controversy at the meeting.
"One question I would ask is, does he plan on recusing himself from voting on this?" Jamieson said.
Jamie Jameson with the Pearl District Association was asking about Councilor Phil Lakin. Lakin is the CEO of Tulsa Community Foundation. QuikTrip CEO Chet Cadieux serves on the board of trustees for that foundation.
"I do not feel in any way that I'm conflicted whatsoever from Mr. Cadieux's service on the Tulsa Community Foundation's board," Lakin said.
The city legal department says the ethics code for the city of Tulsa supports Lakin's opinion and the process was carried out correctly.
"Whether or not such a conflict exists because of this relationship on an organizational board is purely for him to decide," said Bob Edmiston with the city legal department.
That explanation "shocked" Tulsa City Councilor Tom Mansur. He explained he was previously told to recuse himself from city council trash discussions because of a potential conflict of interest.
"I was given no choice, so I am quite confused," Mansur said.
Mansur now says the recusal demand came from another board, not the city council and was eventually dropped. He never recused himself from trash discussions.
Councilor Lakin did not recuse himself Thursday night and voted for QuikTrip's plans, which passed by one vote.
Council Chairman GT Bynum says the council will review the ethics policy in the coming weeks to make sure the new council understands it.