- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust and the Bank of Oklahoma’s parent company say they have reached a settlement over the failed Great Plains Airlines.

The Tulsa Industrial Authority and the bank sued the airports trust for $15.6 million in 2013, accusing it of breaching contract, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1IDNlFx ) reported.

Tulsa had approved a $30 million issue of Industrial Authority bonds for Great Plains in 2000. The Industrial Authority mortgaged Air Force Plant 3 property for the $30 million to loan the airline, and the airports trust, in turn, agreed to purchase the property if the airline defaulted.

The bank made the loan in December 2000, allowing Great Plains began service in April 2001. The airlines then filed for bankruptcy in January 2004. It sold the tax credits for $15 million to a third party and repaid half the money it owed the bank.

The airports trust later refused to buy the Air Force Plant 3 property, citing an FAA ruling that said it would illegal diversion of airport revenues since it would amount to a subsidy to an airline, which isn’t allowed.

Under the agreement announced Monday, the airports trust will pay more than $1.5 million to the industrial authority and BOK Financial Corp. and BOK will release its mortgage on more than 15 acres of Air Force Plant 3.

The airports trust also will contribute $125,000 to the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s airport development efforts over five years.

“We regret that errors made in 2000 by TAIT in structuring the transaction led to this long legal battle,” Tulsa Airport Improvement Trust Chairwoman Mary Smith said in a statement. “We appreciate BOK, its leadership, and its commitment to the Tulsa community.”

President and CEO Steven G. Bradshaw of BOK Financial Corp. said the settlement would “pave the way for the future economic growth of our region.”

“Now Bank of Oklahoma, TAIT, and the city’s leadership can continue to work together for the sake of our great city,” Bradshaw said.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com


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