Bank wants Tulsa International Airport property sold to pay off loan

Tuesday, July 13th 2004, 11:12 am
By: News On 6

A bank orders the city of Tulsa to sell some land to pay off a bad loan. It's part of the continued fallout from the bankruptcy of Great Plains Airlines.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says back when Great Plains needed a loan to get started - the city backed it with a chunk of land 25 acres around Air Force Plant # 3. It's the land - and not a building - that's on the line now.

Great Plains went under not long after it started flying. It never caught on as a regional carrier - and never managed to connect Tulsa to the coast with a direct flight - the whole reason the airline was created. Now that the airline is bankrupt - Bank of Oklahoma wants the city to come up with the money to pay off the loan.

Tulsa city councilor Sam Roop: "Someone has to be accountable for these dollars -- legal in the first place."

The bank has the right to demand the money - and it could happen through a land transfer with only one possible buyer - another city agency that doesn't have the $7-million to buy it.

Councilor Roop worries it would trigger a property tax hike - but either way it's clear a showdown is coming over the money lost because of the airline and taxpayers are on the hook almost no matter how you look at it.