Funkhouser, the former city auditor, and Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks advanced past the mayoral primary on February 27. The next day, Barnes sent a Dear friend missive to more than 20 CEOs, lawyers and developers. I am writing to urgently ask you to attend a breakfast meeting tomorrow, she wrote. The wake-up call was set for 8 a.m. at the downtown Marriott.
The vote for the next Mayor of Kansas City could be heavily influenced by this group, she wrote to her pals. I wish to discuss with you my thoughts on the General Election which will be held only 27 days from now. I am concerned that the progress we have achieved, in large part because of your efforts, are [sic] now in jeopardy. According to the invitation, which the Pitch has seen, Brooks would be on hand to respond to any questions you may have about his candidacy.
The event amounted to endorsement of Brooks. It also signaled Barnes despair at the prospect of Funkhouser becoming the citys next mayor.
As an auditor and as a candidate, Funkhouser has complained loudly about the generous tax incentives that the city has used to foster economic development. Many of those invited to the breakfast benefit directly from the citys programs. The invited:
John Bluford, CEO of Truman Medical Centers.
Tom Bowser, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Mike Burke, former city councilman and lawyer. Burkes firm, King Hershey, represents multiple city agencies, including the Port Authority.
Jack Craft, lawyer. Craft Fridkin & Rhyne is among the law firms that represents the Economic Development Corporation, the citys main development agency.
Lee Derrough, CEO of Hunt Midwest. With the R.H. Johnson Company, Hunt Midwest is developing a retail project in the Northland that will receive $16 million in incentives.
Ed DeSoignie, executive director of Heavy Constructors Association of the Greater KC Area. The Heavy Constructors promote more funding for highways, roads, bridges and water treatment facilities.
Terrence Dunn, president and CEO, J.E. Dunn Construction Group. KCs largest construction company, J.E. Dunn is building the new Federal Reserve Bank and the Performing Arts Center. The city has agreed to pay $19 million for a parking garage in the East Village, site of the new J.E. Dunn headquarters.
Warren Erdman, vice president of Kansas City Southern. Erdman chairs the Economic Development Corporation.
Mark Ernst, president and CEO of H&R Block. The tax-preparation company moved into its new downtown headquarters last fall. H&R Block paid little for the building; almost 95 percent of its costs were eligible for reimbursement through tax-increment financing.
Charles Garney, developer. Garney created the Briarcliff development north of the river. Funkhouser criticized the City Councils decision in January to give a $91 million office-and-hotel project on the site massive subsidies.
Steve Glorioso, aide to Barnes.
Greg Graves, president and chief operating officer of Burns & McDonnell. Graves' company has joined forces with rival engineering firm Black & Veatch in a one-time bid to manage $500 million in projects planned by the citys water department.
David Fenley, real estate lawyer. Fenley was counsel for Highwoods Properties $240 million redevelopment of the Plaza and the $100 million construction of the Plaza Colonnade building, both TIF projects. He also represents the East Village developers.
Gary Forsee, chairman and CEO of Sprint Nextel.
Herb Kohn, lawyer. One of Barnes most trusted advisers, Kohn works at Bryan Cave, a law firm that has reaped millions representing the city and its agencies in the redevelopment of downtown. Bryan Cave lawyers have received as much as $435 an hour from the Tax Increment Financing Commission.
Pete Levi, president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Tom McDonnell, CEO of DST Systems. A major property owner downtown, DST has expanded into the luxury-living market. DST is co-developer of the Kirkwood project south of the Country Club Plaza and the proposed Broadway condominium tower in the Crossroads; the city has approved tax incentives for each project.
Ralph Reid, vice president of Sprint Nextel.
Dale Schulte, lawyer and developer. Schulte has been involved in several downtown residential renovations (Chambers Building, Hanover Building, Finance Building) that have received tax incentives.
Jerry Riffel, former city councilman and real estate lawyer. Riffel represented the developers of the Savoy Hotel, Union Hill and Freight House TIF plans.
Bill White, vice president of Sprint Nextel.
Michael White, lawyer. White is the attorney for the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority. Other clients include HOK Sport, which moved into a new headquarters in the River Market that received significant tax incentives from the state and the city.
William Zollars, chairman and CEO of YRC Worldwide.