Tulsa City Council Considers Ethics Complaint & Mediation

Tuesday, August 3rd 2010, 1:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa City Council is considering filing an ethics complaint against a prominent Tulsa lawyer, over his representation of Mayor Dewey Bartlett in a lawsuit, while he is also a contractor for the City of Tulsa.

At the same time, two councilors are asking for a delay to consider mediation with Bartlett.

Attorney Joel Wohlgemuth is representing the mayor without cost in a lawsuit, while he represents the city in a variety of cases as outside counsel. He represents the city as the defendant in the Black Officers Coalition lawsuit. He has earned almost a million dollars of business in the last 8 years.

"At some point, this madness needs to stop," said City Councilor Jack Henderson.

While the council is united in opposing some of the mayor's actions, even some of his strongest critics are now saying something needs to give.

"We're just getting further down the road and not getting anywhere, so we might as well put it on the table and see what we get," said City Councilor Roscoe Turner.

Councilor Rick Westcott said, "In my mind, there is no question (of an ethics violation)."

The council decided to go forward in filing the complaint and will take a vote on it Thursday night, after a planned meeting earlier in the day with Bartlett to discuss the situation.

Last week, the mayor's lawyer suggested mediation to settle their differences.

"If we could at least get a few councilors to agree to it, they might become the example the others need to follow," Bartlett said. "What's there to lose?"

Councilor GT Bynum argued for a delay in voting on an ethics inquiry. Bynum sent a letter to the mayor asking for more information about possible mediation and asking his fellow councilors to consider it as well.

Bynum is asking for a meeting between the mayor and council to finally sit down and really talk.

"Through all of this, all this garbage back and forth, we've never sat down at a table and discussed this with him and I think it's time that we do that," said Bynum.

Read Councilor GT Bynum's letter to Mayor Bartlett.

"My interest is in calling at least a temporary cease-fire" said Bynum. Councilor John Eagleton agreed.

Councilors Bill Christiansen and Roscoe Turner argued against any delays.

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