The current contract for Zoo Amp management and operation held by the Facilities Management Group expires in December. FMG’s successor is 3Horse Productions.
The contract has been at the center of controversy for months, as FMG owner Howard Pollack, his employees and attorneys have criticized the deal.
Pollack, who has had the Zoo Amp contract for about 10 years, said his company has revitalized the concert venue, and that his contract was terminated because of personal differences.
A trust selection committee memo stated that 3Horse will provide a stronger financial return for the zoo; that the company is willing to partner and receive input on program content and co-branding; that the company had “superior professionalism and integrity throughout the request for proposal process”; and a willingness to guarantee financial performance.
Pollack’s attorneys argued to the trust that 3Horse is a shady company that cannot be trusted and is a front for the Chickasaw Nation.
3Horse’s spokeswoman, Kym Koch,, said the allegations were baseless.
3Horse, which was incorporated shortly before the deadline to submit proposals to the trust, is a collaboration between two existing companies — Queen Productions (co-founded by Michelle Colbert and which has mostly worked in booking talent for tribal casinos) and Enduring Brands (an Edmond-based company with experience in restaurant and hospitality services).
Colbert has said Queen Productions lacked experience in the food and beverage area, so it decided to partner with Enduring Brands for the Zoo Amp venture after Remington Park officials recommended the company.
Pollack has said that the zoo trust provided competitors with his contract when proposals were requested, thereby giving other applicants an unfair advantage. He also said the trust had planned all along to hire 3Horse, despite FMG making a better offer for a new contract.
Negotiating a contract with 3Horse was first considered at the trust’s May 16 meeting, but the item was tabled twice until today’s special meeting — first because a city attorney said the trust may have violated the Open Records Act, and the second because Pollack’s attorneys asked for more time to hammer out an agreement.
City Manager Jim Couch, a member of the trust, previously said the review and request for proposal on contracts is simply good stewardship of public money.
In its proposal, 3Horse offered a base payment of $258,000 with annual inflationary adjustment and an initial capital improvement offer of $100,000, as well as an annual incentive structure based on results. FMG offered a base payment of $250,000 with no inflationary adjustment and a bonus of 10 percent of its net profit from gate revenue.
Today’s meeting grew acrimonious after Pollack’s lawyer, Jerry Foshee, confronted trust member Vince White about why he had smiled and chuckled during a presentation.
“I was laughing because of the misrepresentations that you make over and over again,” White shot back.
Foshee accused the trust of not checking 3Horse’s references and called the deal “irregular.”
Pollack addressed perceptions of trustees’ animosity toward him.
“If you don’t like me, that’s fine, because I’ve been told by many of your employees you don’t like me,” he said. “That’s OK. I’m not here to be liked; I’m here to do a good job and that’s what I’ve done.”
After Pollack made a final request for an independent inquiry into the process, White spoke up again.
“We now have, through numerous meetings, listened to the rants of you, Mr. Pollack, and now by the people you’ve hired to do that for you, as well. It has been full of misrepresentations, false allegations, threats,” White said.
“I’ve got to tell you … after seeing the way you’ve behaved throughout this process, if you were the only party that bid on this, I would be in favor of closing it down, because you’ve shown your character and that’s where the bad behavior’s been.”
Pollack later said the matter will likely go to court.
“I feel that what Mr. White had said was apropos of how the zoo trust has felt about me for a long time,” he said. “It’s definitely a personal issue.
“We’re going to go to court, I’m not going to let this drop. They have a process that was tainted from the beginning and we’re going to prove it in court.”