The Ole Seagull has received a number of questions since he apologized to the airport and the board of Aldermen in a recent column entitled “An Ole Seagull apologizes – there really is only one honorable way. For what it matters and to the best of his recollection here are the questions and his responses:
QUESTION: Legalese aside, doesn’t honor demand that the city pay the Branson Airport $8.24 per passenger every time they fly into the airport for the next 20 something years? From an Ole Seagull’s perspective, here’s the “Yin and Yang” of it. In February of 2010 absolutely not, but in February of 2011 absolutely. In his opinion, the board is honor bound to do what they said they intended to do in July of 2010 until such time as the current economic conditions worsen drastically from what they were in July of 2010. At that time, they said they would appropriate adequate funds to meet its obligations under the Agreement on an annual basis throughout its term and that they were not aware of any impediments to such appropriations.
QUESTION: Why did you apologize? The Ole Seagull apologized because he was wrong.
QUESTION: Where was he wrong? He was wrong when he expressed his opinion that the current board and Mayor did not intend to adopt the provisions of the Original 2006 Pay for Performance Agreement (Original Agreement) with the airport when they approved a Supplemental Agreement, pertaining to the potential payment of $2 million a year to the Branson Airport under the Original Agreement, in the summer of 2010. Their actions clearly indicate exactly what they intended to do, was a matter of public record and the Ole Seagull failed to recognize what was right before his eyes.
QUESTION: Why is that opinion wrong? In the summer of 2010, when the current Board approved the Supplemental Agreement, it in fact did ratify, confirm and approve the Original Agreement.
QUESTION: How did they do it? 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.”
Part of what they ratified, in the Summer of 2010 was Paragraph 5 of the Original Agreement, entitled “Appropriation.” It 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.”
QUESTION: Have you “flip flopped” on this issue? The Ole Seagull’s failure aside, call it what you want, but it doesn’t take a lawyer to read and compare what the board adopted in the Supplemental Agreement in the summer of 2010 and compare it to the Original Agreement.
To an Ole Seagull what the board said was, “With the full knowledge of the current state of the economy and Branson’s financial condition as of July 2010, ‘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.'” It is now their agreement and they should honor it.
QUESTION: Don’t you think, with the total return the city is getting for the $8.24 it pays to the airport for the majority of the passengers disembarking at the Branson Airport, that the Original Agreement was good for Branson? Absolutely not! An Ole Seagull’s abhorrence of the Original Agreement, from moral, conceptual, logic and legal points of view, and what the current board has done to “launder” it, remains unabated, but we are no longer dealing with the Original Agreement.
QUESTION: Why do you believe that there’s been a degradation of the city’s legal position to defend against legal action by the airport under the agreement because of the action the board took in passing the Supplemental Agreement? The city says that their $100,000 attorney allegedly said it improves the city’s legal chances. OK one more time, here’s the Ole Seagull’s take. In February of 2010, when the Ole Seagull first spoke to the board he said, ” I would specifically request that this board simply do nothing under this agreement except defend a lawsuit should the airport decide to file one.”
At that time, the Ole Seagull believed that the city would be the odds on favorite if it had to defend a legal suit under the Original Agreement. After the Supplemental Agreement was passed, and before he realized what he had missed, it was at best a 50 – 50 shot. The realization of what the board had actually approved however, lowers those expectations substantially. Besides, has anyone seen anything in writing, or heard the $100,000 attorney speak in a public forum, stating that what the board has done through the passing of the Supplemental Agreement has improved the city’s legal position over what it was in February of 2010?