Vote on Oklahoma City Zoo's amphitheater contract delayed, legal action threatened

The Oklahoma City Zoological Trust agreed Wednesday to delay a vote on selection of a new operator for the Zoo Amphitheater after being threatened with legal action.
by Steve Lackmeyer and Matt Patterson Published: June 21, 2012

Not every meeting of the Oklahoma City Zoo Trust is attended by four big name attorneys, three armed deputies and two court reporters.

The controversy attracting such players on Wednesday featured Howard Pollack, operator of the Zoo Amphitheater, fighting against his proposed replacement by a 2-month-old company with ties to Global Gaming and Remington Park, both affiliates of the Chickasaw Nation.

More than 60 employees and vendors of Facilities Management Group showed up to protest a scheduled trust vote to end the company's decade as the amphitheater operator and instead it award it to 3Horse Productions, led by Sulphur resident Michelle Colbert, a former marketing director with the Chickasaw Nation, and Edmond-based restaurant group Enduring Brands.

After a closed executive session discussion, the trust, represented by City Manager Jim Couch, agreed to a vote delay requested by Eric Groves, who was joined by Jerry Foshee, Bill Zuhdi and John Coyle in representing Pollack.

Groves told the trust he believed the matter could be resolved if more time was allowed for Pollack's attorneys to speak to various parties involved in the dispute. Foshee, meanwhile, was much less conciliatory, joining Zuhdi in threatening legal action. Foshee accused trustees of violating “the spirit” of the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act by communicating about the contract in emails and in failing to do due diligence in screening the proposals.

In a prior interview with The Oklahoman, zoo Director Dwight Scott acknowledged neither he or the committee vetted the vendors proposals to verify experience and references.

Foshee alleged some concerts claimed by 3Horse Productions actually were booked by Pollack's company.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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