Air Assurance Owner Disputes Allegations

Thursday, January 22nd 2009, 10:51 am
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- The owner of the company in the middle of a scandal surrounding Broken Arrow Public Schools broke his silence Thursday.

Air Assurance's owner, Mike Rampey, wants to reassure his customers and the city that his company didn't do anything wrong.

Surrounded by family and friends, flanked by employees and long-time customers, and backed by what he calls his company's core value, Rampey finally spoke out, after months of controversy.

"You'd be surprised the threatening phone calls, the threatening letters," Mike Ramey said. "I just never thought I would be facing anything like this."

Air Assurance started making headlines last fall. Then-Broken Arrow superintendent, Jim Sisney, said the company was paid $77,000 for work school officials didn't request.

Sisney launched an investigation, eventually claiming competitive-bidding laws might have been violated.

A group of taxpayers is threatening to sue the school board, saying other vendors were stonewalled from participating in bidding.

Air Assurance is also accused of "grossly inflate[d] charges for both labor and materials."

Rampey said he has a 2007 bid to prove that's not true. He said McIntosh Services was the only company to provide a quote, but Air Assurance's quote was lower.

"We won the business fair and square," Mike Rampey said. "We did it the old fashioned way, by being the low bidder; in fact, $88,000 less."

The taxpayer's notice also claims Air Assurance did work at the office of Douglas Hudkins and billed Broken Arrow schools for the job.

"A simple typographical error," Mike Rampey said.

Rampey said the work was done at Sequoyah Middle School, but an employee accidentally clicked Sequoyah Professional Building when typing up the bill.

He said GPS records prove the mistake, and the company's truck can be seen on a street behind Sequoyah Middle School. The GPS doesn't clock any more movement for eight hours.

Rampey said his company is an open book and he welcomes an audit.

Broken Arrow school officials refused to comment because the matter is in the middle of litigation.

Rampey and several members of the school board are being sued by Sisney, who was fired in part over accusations made against Air Assurance.

Related story: 1/14/2009  Broken Arrow School Board Calls For State Audit