An Ole Seagull apologizes – there really is only one honorable way

An Ole Seagull would apologize to Mr. Steve Peet of the Branson Airport and simply say, ” I am sorry. In terms of the Supplemental Agreement, you were right sir and I was wrong.” To the Branson Board of Aldermen (Board) an Ole Seagull would say, “He was wrong when he expressed his opinion relative to what he believed you intended to do when you approved the Supplemental Agreement, pertaining to the potential payment of $2 million a year to the Branson Airport under the Original 2006 Pay for Performance Agreement (Original Agreement), in the summer of 2010. For that he is sorry. At the end of the day, he missed something he wished he didn’t and for that he apologizes to his readers.

Since his appearance at the Board’s December 14 meeting and the Mayor’s refusal to let the Board answer the few simple questions he asked, the Ole Seagull received information that caused him to realize he had assumed too much and that he was wrong relative to the obligations the city has under the Supplemental Agreement. For what it matters, in an Ole Seagull’s opinion, prior to the current board’s actions approving the Supplemental Agreement it had the “high ground” from both a legal and an honor perspective.

The current administration was dealing with an unconscionable agreement and problems, not the least of which was the advice of their own attorney telling them the agreement was “unconstitutional” and “void,” created by the actions of a previous administration in a different economic climate. The current board could have opted to not appropriate the money and let the Branson Airport take whatever action it deemed appropriate.

The Ole Seagull believes that in terms of defending against any such actions, both in legal terms and honor that, comparatively speaking, the city had as close to a “slam dunk” as they could have had. After approving the Supplemental Agreement, he believes that its legal ability to defend against any legal action by the airport has been reduced to taking a “Hail Mary” three quarters court shot at the basket and that the city is honor bound to pay the airport $8.24 per passenger.

Paragraph 5 of the Original Agreement, entitled “Appropriation,” says, “The City’s obligations under this agreement are expressly subject to annual appropriation by the City, in accordance with Missouri Law. The City represents and warrants to BA [Branson Airport] that it intends to appropriate adequate funds to meet its obligations under this Agreement on an annual basis throughout the term of this Agreement. The City is not aware of any impediments to such appropriation at this time.”

Paragraph 8 of the Supplemental Agreement says, “Each and every condition of the PfP Agreement [Original Agreement] (including, specifically and without limitation Paragraph 5 of the PfP) is hereby ratified, confirmed and approved and shall remain unchanged and in full force and effect without modification, except with respect to the provisions set forth herein.”

In essence, what the current board said with that language was, “We adopt the Original Agreement as our own, intend to appropriate the funds annually under the agreement and are not aware of any impediments to such appropriation at this time.” What time? July 2010! The city’s financial shape is not much worse now , if any, from what it was in July 2010.

“Seagull, then why is the city having all this public discussion about where the money is going to come from? Why did they only appropriate $35,000 when they know it’s going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars? Why are they exposing the city to the liability that could result from their failure to do that which they said they were going to do just a few months ago?”

“For what it matters, an Ole Seagull feels confident that the city’s $100,000 attorney has a legal hook for them to cling to. However, in his opinion, from an honor and ‘right thing’ perspective the city only has one choice and the sooner they make that choice and announce it publically the better it will be for all parties involved.”

“Well Seagull, that being the case, how do we know that you won’t be wrong in the future and why should we pay attention to what you say?” “You don’t and the only value of the Ole Seagull’s opinions to anyone is to the extent they have evaluated those opinions and find them useful in their own decision making process. All he can say is that he has always tried to do, and will continue to do, his best and will, hopefully, realize when that’s not enough anymore.”

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