Letter to the Editor: Debt questioned
BY Kent Morlan, Tulsa
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 7:54 AM
How exactly is it that the "city" has to start repaying the debt incurred by the Public Facilities Authority? The deal to buy the One Tech Center building was unconstitutional. Cities in Oklahoma are prohibited from entering into long-term contracts without specific approval of 60 percent of the voters who vote in an election where the question is presented. Remember the votes on the 2025 plan? Well, I bet you do not remember any vote that you made to borrow $67 million and buy the One Tech Center.
Nope, the Public Facilities Authority borrowed the money by selling "revenue" bonds, which are being paid off out of the city's general fund revenues. The city did not legally pledge the full faith and credit to the bond holders to pay the debt. What it basically did was "agree" to lease the building from the Public Facilities Authority for 30 years, one year at a time, at a rental rate sufficient to pay the principal and interest on the debt incurred by the Public Facilities Authority. That's a clear violation of the spirit, if not the intent, of the Oklahoma Constitution.
Editor's note: Morlan is a Tulsa attorney and editor and publisher of MoreLaw.com, an online legal publication.
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