Expo Square CEO fired in 2008 to get $285,000 settlement
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 8:39 AM
Rick Bjorklund, a former Expo Square president and CEO who was fired in 2008, will receive $285,000 in a settlement of his state and federal lawsuits claiming breach of contract and civil rights violations, according to court records.
The Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority, also known as the fair board, and former County Commissioner Randi Miller, individually and in her capacity as a fair board member, and Trident Insurance Services were named as defendants in the lawsuits.
Final court documents in the case were filed Wednesday.
The settlement will be paid by Trident, the authority's insurance company, and includes language stating that Expo Square does not acknowledge any wrongdoing or liability. The authority oversees operations at the Tulsa County fairgrounds.
"The matter has been terminated to the satisfaction of all parties involved," said Bjorklund's attorney, David Keesling.
Bjorklund was fired after the Tulsa World reported that one of the fairgrounds' largest tenants, Big Splash Water Park, had failed to pay its 2007 rent and that a check for half of its 2006 rent had gone uncashed for more than a year.
In addition, fairgrounds officials failed to list the outstanding balances on the monthly financial reports provided to the fair board.
The civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court claimed, in part, that Bjorklund's constitutional rights were violated because he did not receive a meaningful hearing upon termination from a position with a government entity.
Miller and Bjorklund squabbled publicly over the circumstances surrounding his firing.
Bjorklund said it was Miller who in 2007 instructed him to get Big Splash's financial problems "off the radar screen."
Miller was the fair board's chairwoman at the time.
Bjorklund also insisted that he told fair board members of Miller's instructions during the executive session held to determine his job status.
As part of the settlement agreement, Bjorklund waives any right to get his job back and agrees that the settlement is "fair and just under the circumstances."
Bjorklund was in the second year of a five-year agreement with the Public Facilities Authority at the time he was fired. He was being paid a base salary of $140,000.
Reached late Thursday, Bjorklund said he had nothing to add to his attorney's comment.
Attorney Steven Broussard, representing the fair board, was out of town Thursday and not available for comment.
Original Print Headline: Fired Expo Square CEO to get settlement
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Rick Bjorklund: As part of the settlement agreement, he waives any right to get his job back and agrees that the settlement is "fair and just."