We will not support the Tulsa State Fair sign now

We are concerned about the actions taken by the current CEO of the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. His revocation of lease renewal for Bell's Amusement Park is not in the best economic interest of the fairgrounds, the city, or Tulsa county. His actions are depraved for their blatant disregard for the opinion of the citizens of Tulsa county, unethical, and quite possibly illegal.

We are certain that you have seen and heard various accusations regarding Mr. Bjorklund. Our purpose is not necessarily to add to the "hype" of other enraged citizens, but to voice concern that there has been neither demonstrated oversight by his superiors, nor have any of his superiors brought him publicly to account for his actions. The following excerpt is some information we received that does raise some concerns. This may or may not have come to your attention, but we believe in sharing information....even if your Fairgrounds CEO does not.

*First, Bjorklund was hired May 1 by the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority, a public body covered by the Open Meeting Act, at a salary of $110,000 a year. (According to the Tulsa World). State law requires agendas to be posted at the websites of all public bodies which maintain websites (74 OS 3106.2). But there is no agenda for the May 1 meeting, although the website includes a slew of agendas for regular and special meetings. However, even those postings omit the page of the agenda outlining proposed personnel actions. The World says there was an executive session prior to the vote to hire Bjorklund--and courts are especially sticky about improper postings of action taken out of public view. The penalty for violating the posting provisions: a $500 fine and up to a year in jail (25OS314). Of more concern to Bjorklund--any action taken in an illegal meeting is invalid. So he may not actually be an employee because he may never have been legally hired. Oh yes, a newspaper in Nebraska said the Tulsa board sought him out--wonder how that happened without a posted meeting, because we couldn't find one of those, either. Answers, anyone?

*Second, his abbreviated resume was jerked off the Expo Square website sometime after Oct. 20. We wonder if it has anything to do with his favorite quote: "If you cost me money, I will be upset; if you cost me image, I'll be ruthless." Why was it there from June 28-Oct. 20, when nobody cared, and gone now, when people do care?

*Third, he stayed at his last job as director of the Nebraska State Fair for just 15 months, and jumped ship just a couple of months before this year's fair was to open. "A Tulsa opportunity is one of very, very few in my business that's absolutely compelling," he said. Not to denigrate our fair city, but that seems highly unlikely--especially given the comment of his Nebraska successor that Bjorklund "was there (in Nebraska) long enough to be seen and to be heard." (Lincoln Star Journal) We suspect the $15,000 raise he got for defecting played a role, but there are greener pastures in Texas, Missouri and many other states. Wonder when he'll have been here "long enough to be seen and to be heard," but not long enough for the bad news to travel too far?

*Fourth, he served for seven years as head of the Wisconsin State Fair, before resigning in Dec. 2000. At the time he said, "I believe this decision, while difficult, is representative of the best interests of the Wisconsin State Fair Park."(The Business Journal of Milwaukee) The World said it was due to a dispute with Gov. Tommy Thompson about expansion at the park, but Bjorklund was in fact as gung ho--and insensitive to public opinion--about that as he has been about the Bell's action. "It's refreshing and exciting all at the same time. The old framstead needs a facelift and like it or not here it comes," he said of the Wisconsin plan. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Guess badgers don't change their views about public input when they become Sooners, do they?

*Fifth, he had close ties to Jerry Murphy, of Murphy Brothers and Spectacular Attractions--holders of no-bid midway contracts in Tulsa, Wisconsin and other places. Wonder how that fits into his desire to boot Bell's off the fairgrounds? We don't know the ins and outs of the business well enough to answer that--anyone out there have a clue?

*Sixth, he doesn't seem the least bit worried about putting the taxpayers in jeopardy from lawsuits. In 1999, he abruptly told promoters of the 13th annual Milwaukee Metalfest that they would not be welcome at the fairgrounds--long after tickets were being sold and just 22 days before the signature event was to open. The promoter had an oral contract and Bjorklund confirmed the terms--$10,000 plus costs. All he would say to the public was, "I am not able to issue a contract to them...All I can say right now is that two sets of attorneys are talking." He did confirm the financial terms of the voided deal. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

*Seventh, when the fair board in Wisconsin realized that big name grandstand acts were putting the fair over a half million dollars in the hole each year, he resisted cutting back. He said the acts produced an image of the fair that he was reluctant to lose--despite attendance as low as 2,000 in a 16,000 seat grandstand. He admitted only 5\% of the fair's attendees came for the shows. Board member Dennis Markos had the more taxpayer-friendly approach--$500,000 losses are unacceptable. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Now what was that quote that was jerked off the Expo Square website? Oh, yes, "if you cost me image, I'll be ruthless." Guess the image of old-fashioned family fun and lots of first jobs for area teens doesn't fit the Bjorklund model-but then what do you expect from a guy who gets $115 grand plus bennies plus a race track to play with? Not common Oklahoma values, you can bet!

*Eighth, after Wisconsin told him not to let the door bruise his rear in Dec. 31, 2001, he was a consultant in places like Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong and Ireland. Awful hard to check out the details, but so often consulting is a euphemism for "can't get and/or keep a real long-term job."

Now, one more time, why is this guy in charge of Expo Square and why is he passing judgment on a 55-year-old Tulsa institution that pays six-figure rent every year? Where does he get the expertise to judge Bell's financial health, or legal issues, or for that matter anything involving sound business practices? Who does he think he works for?!? It is clearly not the citizens of Tulsa, Green Country or Oklahoma.

Furthermore, we are resolved that as a result of Mr. Bjorklund's actions, we will not be attending the Tulsa State Fair, nor supporting any of it related activities. The presence of Bell's at the Tulsa State Fair has been the essence of what has made the Fair a quality event for well over 50 years, and we will no longer support the Fair, and moreover, Mr. Bjorklund's...and quite possible YOUR illegal activities.

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Latest Signatures

  • 05 August 201550. Steve C
    Your Additional After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax payer's money, we have what? A parking lot. Thanks guys, that new coaster was too good to be true after all. Your Political Affiliation Independant
  • 23 March 201549. Jamie D
    I support this petition
  • 25 October 201448. Tom H
    Your Additional I too grew up going to Bells and at 57 I will miss taking our grandkids there. I know one thing for sure, come election time I will remember who was for getting rid of Bells and maybe its time we elected a new County Commissioner. Hey Ran
  • 03 September 201447. Donna P
    Your Additional someone needs to do a thorough investigation of who's scratching who's back on that board....I guarantee you that ALL of them are into something they don't need to be...ALL of them. Address 1731 S Jackson ave apt D Tulsa, Ok
  • 12 February 201446. Mana T
    I support this petition
  • 06 June 201345. Carol H
    I support this petition
  • 26 May 201344. Jacqueline N
    I support this petition
  • 24 March 201343. Pauline E
    Your Additional Cant wait until we go to the polls, Address 422 S Yale Your Political Affiliation Independent registered voter
  • 07 March 201342. Clint B
    Your Additional I've only lived in Tulsa for three years, but I have also attended to the fair every year and this will be the first one I will miss. I love the rides and scenery, but you just can get as big a thrill when its so small that it can be brou
  • 28 August 201241. Michael F
    I support this petition
  • 19 July 201240. Grant W
    I support this petition
  • 17 June 201239. Phyllis H
    I support this petition
  • 23 May 201238. Jeffery M
    I support this petition
  • 26 October 201137. Cody G
    I support this petition
  • 12 October 201136. Chris T
    I support this petition
  • 02 May 201135. Michael Davidphillipss
    Your Additional no bells- no fair- boycott the fair Your Political Affiliation regular voter
  • 08 April 201134. Steve D
    I support this petition
  • 17 November 201033. Donna N
    Your Additional We need new commissioners
  • 10 November 201032. Jessica S
    Your Additional I am saddened by the loss and the ability of a few to make this decision.
  • 30 September 201031. Randy S
    I support this petition
  • 12 August 201030. Barbara M
    I support this petition
  • 23 May 201029. Charley R
    I support this petition
  • 01 May 201028. Johnny W
    I support this petition
  • 28 March 201027. Troy M
    I support this petition
  • 10 January 201026. Desmoc Mooney
    Your Additional did not know the details,but was just commenting today on what a raw deal that was and what idiot made that decision. i was born and raised in tulsa and i think this guy should be run out of town and cancell that last paycheck! Address wh
  • 29 December 200925. Larry J
    I support this petition
  • 23 November 200924. Jason B
    Your Additional The yearly fair will be puny & pathetic without Bells presence, and after this scandal, unprofitable & unattended. Address 13th & S Quebec Ave, Tulsa (yah, just north of the fairgrounds!) Your Political Affiliation Independe

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Cindy McdowellBy:
Petition target:
Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller


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