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Re: “City Council members want to take on the Port Authority debacle. But their fetish for foiling the mayor made them late to the fight

The EDC is the umbrella corporation that is over the Port Authority, The TIF Commission, and other "alpabet" sub agencies all which "operate under the EDC’s management and facilities" as so described in the EDC's website: The Richards Gebaur project was under the perview of the Port Authority. The H&R Block project was a TIF project. For the investigators to confine an investigation of suspected malfeasance in the Port Authority and TIF commision or the LCRA, etc., would not be complete unless they also included looking into the potential complicity of the EDC. Plus, if you read the list of the EDC Board of Directors and the Port Authority Board of Advisors, you will note many, if not all of the existing City Council are involved. Makes one wonder if they too had a role to play. Do you see the connection? Roger, I'll forgive your condescending accussation that I have a hidden agenda in my statements because it appears that you haven't delved that deep into these agencies. The fact that the public needs to really dig super deep and super continuously in order to find the truth is what empowers those that want to enrich themselves at the public's expense. The level of their greed exceeds the amount of inquisitiveness of the public. It's that "Hiding in plain sight" phenomenon.

Posted by trey on 01/17/2011 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Trey Runnion resigns from Port Authority

Resist the temptation to declare that justice has been achieved by Runnion's resignation and that the EDC and its sub-agencies are now thoroughly cleansed and are deserving of the public's trust. This is far from it. When there has been wrong doing by a bureaucrat and he is exposed, his co-conspirators are hopeful that their comrades' demise will fend off further scrutiniy into their shady dealings. This type of corruption has been ingrained into the culture of the EDC and has defined the nature of the tax assisted development process in Kansas City. There is much more to be uncovered. If we want to achieve genuine reform on how these agencies operate, they must first be thoroughly investigated. This examination should be performed by the Justice Department and not the City.

Posted by trey on 01/14/2011 at 7:44 AM

Re: “Kris Kobach reveals his plan to redefine an illegal-loving Constitution

The last time someone was so obsessed with immigrants was during the Rise of the Third Reich. Before proceeding with any legislation regarding our national immigration policies, I think it would be a good thing to review history to identify any parallels and to avoid repeating it.

Posted by Treyra on 01/06/2011 at 8:41 AM

Re: “Port Authority mess reminds us that the minority-contracting game is a sham

Pillars of the community....H&R Block, J.E. Dunn, Kissick, Konrath. These are the INITIATORS of these crooked schemes. When will you, the public, become disgusted by the roles they have played in these deceits?

These two corporate giants (Block and Dunn) have sucked the living daylights out of TIF, yet they still continue to discriminate against minorities and women businesses. Corporate giant wannabes like Kissick and Konrath feel that they too can break the rules because they see the market leaders like Dunn get away unscathed. It has become part of the business culture in this area.

You are absolutely right Mr. Martin, the Minority Contracting Program is a sham. Not because of its noble intentions or because of legitimately operating minority firms, but because of the never ending exploitation of the system by villians like these "pillars of the community".

To label the Minority Contracting Program as a game accounts for only the viewpoint of the INITIATORS. It is a game to Dunn et. al. for their strangle hold on the construction industry empowers them to indiscriminately make or break any subcontractor at will.

For legitimately operating Minorioty firms it is not a game at all. Business survival depends upon successfully navigating the typical dangers that all business face. However, they must also deal with unnatural perils placed in their path by greedy and unscrupulous "pillars of the community" who are intent on waging economic terror on an entire social class.

The more that is revealed about these practices, the more apparent it becomes that a Federal investigation is long overdue.

You cannot shame a major corporation like H&R Block or J.E. Dunn into doing the right thing. But you do not have to use H&R Block to prepare your taxes, use someone else. Dunn does not have to build every major facility in this city, select another contractor.

If you are a man/woman of good will, express your outrage to them in the only manner that they will listen. Deny them business.

Posted by trey on 01/04/2011 at 5:21 PM

Re: “City Council members want to take on the Port Authority debacle. But their fetish for foiling the mayor made them late to the fight

This afternoon, the star ran a story about the EDC Executive committee asking Runnion to resign. I made the following comment:

"This controversy has obviously struck a chord with the Kansas City's power elite. Don't kid yourself; throwing Runnion under the bus could not have occurred without their direct intervention. This is what McQueen said, “People on this board are nervous…People are concerned.” What are they nervous and concerned about? Are they afraid of possibly being implicated in wrongdoing? I think this action was taken in the hopes that it could be passed off as a substitute for a Federal Investigation. We need the U.S. Attorney to step in immediately."

David, you've done a great job and even greater public service with your initial articles on Sessions and the Port Authority. I believe this had a lot to do with today's actions (albeit belated and reluctant) by the EDC to clean up its act.

Please keep digging into this. As more is uncovered, more questions arise. For example, was TWS granted any special favors to be certified as an MBE firm and/or was pressure put on the City by outside sources? Rayford obviously was suspicious.

Why is TWS no longer in business? Why are Kissick Construction and TWS involved in counter lawsuits? (The suits appear to be over the Port Authority contracts.)

Recently, in reference to the contested contract, Port Authority Chairman Trey Reunion stated, "It was a private transaction between private businesses. JE Dunn and Kissick Construction chose through their selection process to engage in a company called TWS." If it was a private transaction, why was Rayford asked to monitor the MBE participation?

Note that JE Dunn is mentioned in his statement. What level of responsibility do they hold for this mess? Recall the H&R Block World Headquarters fiasco regarding abuses of the MBE program of which Dunn played a big part? This stinks of the same bad deeds.

The similarities are uncanny: an unknown minority firm is suspiciously granted a multi-million dollar contract in partnership with an established firm; this bogus MBE participation is counted as genuine, thereby limiting opportunities for legitimately operating MBE/WBE companies or white owned small businesses; if (this is a big "if") watchdogs notice this and complain, the offending agency launches an expensive internal audit/investigation and basically clears itself of any wrong doing; the participating MBE's are punished while the main conspirators and benefactors, the lawyers, agency board members, politicians and developers walk away unblemished by their filthy acts and are free to repeat them. And they have haven't they?

Demand a complete Federal investigation of the EDC.

Posted by trey on 12/21/2010 at 11:20 PM

Re: “William Session, lawyer for the Kansas City Port Authority, may get a visit from the feds (updated)

This is my response to the Star editorial on the matter"

The public is intelligent and will see through Burke�s pretend shock and dismay about corrupt dealings within the Port Authority, one of the EDC�s alphabet sub agencies. It stretches one�s imagination to believe how he, and others with years of intimate and detailed association with the EDC development process, could be so unaware. Other political figures close to the action will no doubt follow suit with their own alibis.

The recent revelations by David Martin of the Pitch and Dave Helling of the KC Star have prompted some to call for the City to conduct an audit of the Port Authority. The public has been subjected to this worn out remedy many times in the past.

Typically the strategy to ward off public outcry has been to assign �truth detectives� to investigate the matter. No one is surprised when the investigator�s report vindicates the agency and the central figures in the controversy. The agency proudly announces that all is well and assures the public that these incidents will not happen again for they now know how to take the necessary precautions. Business as usual resumes.

The most egregious example of this is what occurred when complaints were registered to the TIF commission, another EDC sub agency about contractual abuses on the H&R Block World Headquarters project. A consortium of construction associations and business groups lodged the complaint.

True to form, the TIF hired an outside consultant and conducted an internal audit. When the outside consultant presented his findings, he concluded that there was substance to the complaints. He had no choice because the abuses were so well documented. Some have suggested the acts were criminal in nature and warranted a federal investigation.

The TIF commission was caught off guard for no one had ever challenged them with solid evidence. They anguished for more than a year because they couldn�t put a positive spin on the obvious corruption. In the end, at a closed meeting involving the TIF, the City, and the offending developer and contractor, the City inexplicably arrived at the conclusion that everything was proper.

None of the available sanctions that were put in place to protect the public and preserve the integrity of the process were levied against the developer. Most observers will concur that the TIF commission had successfully swept the matter under the rug.

Keeping true to the script, The TIF commission assured the public that this was an isolated incident that it will not happen again for they have taken the proper precautions. We can now plainly see how effective EDC agency measures are to safe guard tax dollars.

It may be fortunate that this latest scandal has come to light just before elections because the public needs to know how the candidates stand on this very important aspect of council or mayoral service. I suggest the follow questions be asked of all the candidates:

For the incumbents:

Would you state why, despite evidence of wrongdoing, known by the Mayor and all the Council, no liquidated damages were assessed on the H&R Block Project and why no action was taken on the Richard Gebaur project?

For the incumbents and challengers:

Would you be in favor of an investigation by the Attorney General, the Justice Department or the FBI of EDC sub agency projects approved by this administration?

Ordinarily, one would commend the Mayor for taking the unusual step of requesting an investigation by the Attorney General. What makes this a disingenuous gesture is why, since a core platform for his initial election was stopping the abuse of TIF projects, did he not take a stand on the H&R Block World Headquarters project then as he is now on a Port Authority project?

Could it be that the central figures, H&R Block and J.E. Dunn are more powerful to take on than William Sessions and Kissick Construction? Could it be that this is merely an act of desperation to retain his office? Only an unobstructed investigation will answer this question.

Say no to another self-serving audit. Demand a complete federal investigation.

Posted by trey on 12/16/2010 at 4:19 PM

Re: “Tax receipts make fool of former TIF boss

To make matters worse, it doesn't help when developers use shameful tactics to get the tax breaks. Check this out:

Posted by Trey Randolf on 01/23/2009 at 8:15 AM

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