Work by an engineering firm for the city of Tulsa put on hold

Wednesday, October 5th 2005, 10:48 am
By: News On 6

An engineering firm working for the city of Tulsa says the notion it has connections to terrorism is simply not true. The company works with an engineer who is under indictment in Texas on a terrorism charge, but that's not what has stopped their work in Tulsa.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says it was actually a lack of a proper state license that has interupted the city's relationship with an engineering firm, hired back in July to do a $50,000 waterline project. The city has paid out $28,000 on the job, but wants some answers before it pays any more.

A Tulsa city council briefing Tuesday on a discrimination complaint included what sounded like a bombshell - an engineer with alleged ties to terrorism working on city of Tulsa projects.

It's all because an Oklahoma City firm, High Plains Technical Services, won a contract to work on water lines in Tulsa. When the company couldn't get more work - its management complained to city councilors that Tulsa was discriminating against it because its owner wasn't white.

Larry Bradley with High Plains Technical Services: "We want to work, we want to help this city grow, we've got an office two blocks away, in fact, it's over on 6th Street." The city says the company's complaint unraveled on the basics - like their office. The city took pictures inside and found none of the equipment an engineering firm needs. The only things in the office were desks and chairs and no computer.

The council was told the firm was late on their contract, and one of their engineers was under indictment for raising money to support terrorists. He's been on the news in Dallas, because he worked there too. Dallas TV announcer: "Abducater led a double life - by day a respected a respected civil engineer for the city of Dallas. By night, a performer in a vaudeville style act for Islamic Jihad." Paul Zachary with the city of Tulsa Public Works Department: “with what we know of Mr. Abdukater, our legal department, and we had to let the police and FBI know he was in town, they don't we don't want this firm working on any of the contracts we have right now."

High Plains was hired to do engineering work on water lines in one Tulsa neighborhood. Besides the obvious questions about this possible tie terrorism, the city has more basic questions about whether the company was ever qualified to do the job.

And now the state has ordered High Plains to stop offering engineering services - after determining it had no engineers licensed in Oklahoma. That, and not the terrorism questions - has put High Plains temporarily off the job in Tulsa.

The city of Tulsa doesn't believe Abudcator worked on the current contract - but is looking into how it can get the water lines fixed - with or without the company that employed him. The company says Mufid Abdulqader did work on the Tulsa water line project, and is still a "strategic alliance" with the company.

Marketing Director Larry Bradley said Wednesday, the company intends to honor its contract with Tulsa, and is working now to straighten out the state licensing issue.