If a few more decision makers and party animals in this city had spent the days before Christmas the way the rest of us did — lining up at Target, covering our ears at Best Buy, hiding under a candy-cane-print tablecloth in the coat closet — then maybe the last full workweek of the year would have looked a little less stupid. Here's a cross-section of the advent's dog days, as reported on the news blog of Pitch.com.
Monday, December 15: Done and doner
Another Monday in Kansas City, another report of first lady and xenophobe in excelsis Gloria Squitiro's undiluted ignorance (Plog: "Squitiro insults Asians, too," by David Martin). This latest exegesis of a Squitiro utterance comes from Joe Miller, Mayor Mark Funkhouser's book-contract-seeking departed communications director. According to Miller's deposition, Squitiro once said, "You no like" to Joan Pu, a Chinese-born policy analyst who works in the mayor's office. Pu said nothing in response, according to Miller.
Miller was deposed by an attorney for Ruth Bates, a former Funkhouser aide who filed a suit accusing Funkhouser, Squitiro and the city of creating a hostile work environment.
In his deposition, Miller (and duty compels us to note that Miller was a Pitch staff writer from 2000 to 2004) added that Squitiro's comment to Pu may have been "just an innocent slip." For reasons he couldn't explain, he speculated about how people who talked with Pu seemed to have "a tendency to sort of want to say things the same way" she did. As though, in the mayor's office, English is a second language.
Tuesday, December 16: An invitation — to court
Word arrived today (Plog: "Society facebook sues former KCMO councilman," again by Martin) that the owner of a society magazine had filed suit against Chuck Eddy, a former Kansas City, Missouri, city councilman and candidate for mayor, alleging that Eddy violated the terms of an employment agreement.
Fred Harris of Memphis, Tennessee, hired Eddy to run By Invitation Kansas City, a photograph-heavy magazine tracing the movements of leopard-print-wearing Junior League members, tuxedo owners and other pocket-square types who use the word gala without irony. The magazine debuted in August.
According to Harris' filing, Eddy, a licensed chiropractor, was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the magazine. Two months after agreeing to serve as publisher, however, Eddy submitted his resignation. The following month, Eddy incorporated a new business, one that publishes Kansas City Celebrates Magazine, which also turns its lens to formally clad WASPs and the wasp-waisted.
The suit cites an employment agreement barring Eddy from working for a competitor or potential competitor for a year following his last paycheck. Eddy himself took many of the photos appearing in the December issue of Celebrates. Harris contends that Eddy covered some of the events featured in Celebrates while working for By Invitation.
The lawsuit asks the court to restrain Eddy from operating his magazine and seeks the contracts and photographs that Harris believes By Invitation owns.
At press time, Eddy had no comment. Less likely to violate his noncompete clause: a much-needed, pictorial-rich glossy called Home Alone Putting Shit on eBay to Buy Food.
Wednesday, December 17: Kline every mountain
Outgoing Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline waited nine months for a lump of told-you-so in his stocking: a report clearing his nemesis — former Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison — of criminal wrongdoing during an extramarital affair (Plog: "Paul Morrison cleared in mistress probe," by Justin Kendall).
Special investigators Tim Keck and Robert Arnold shot down allegations that Morrison used his relationship with Kline's then-employee Linda Carter as a window into Kline's tactics. At the time of the affair, the publicity-hungry Kline was investigating abortion clinics and fending off a lawsuit filed by eight employees he had fired. Keck and Arnold also looked into accusations that Morrison blackmailed Carter and harassed her over the phone.
Morrison's conduct "is not of a nature warranting prosecution," Keck and Arnold wrote in a statement released this day. But I'd sleep with one eye open if I were he, the report failed to add.
That night, Kendall shook off the effects of forbidden love gone cold by attending another warm, sexy meeting of the Unified Government's Board of Public Utilities (Plog: "BPU member Jones seeking freeze? redemption?"). Board member Mark Jones, usually a model of complacent silence at these meetings, dramatically called for a wage freeze for management and nonunion employees; he estimated a savings of at least $800,000. The other five board members and General Manager Don Gray voted down the proposal, then ordered a $6,000 deli platter and strippers dressed as Mrs. Claus.
Thursday, December 18: No one like
What do meat spreads and sex workers have in common? As Kendall noted reluctantly on this Thursday, the thing they share is plastic. The kind made for preservation, not prevention (Plog: "Saran Wrap instead of condoms?").
In a statement this day announcing the guilty plea of massage-parlor mastermind Wei Li Pang, U.S. Attorney John Wood outlined how Pang ran up a bill for Saran Wrap at her never-to-reopen Asian Massage Health Center in Olathe and Oriental Massage in Mission. The women Pang prostituted from her businesses worked long shifts and sometimes slept on the premises.
It'll be a while before Pang's next full release: She faces 20 years in federal prison.
Speaking of whores, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council knuckled under on this Thursday to the Community Development Corporation of Kansas City and its amazing disappearing president, William Threatt (Plog: "Citadel Plaza gets $20 million advance from taxpayers," by Carolyn Szczepanski). Threatt was a no-show when the council granted his Christmas wish: unanimous approval of $20 million to keep alive his proposed $90 million Citadel Plaza development at 63rd Street and Prospect. What budget crisis?
As part of its financial agreement with the CDC-KC, the city originally agreed to sell more than $40 million in bonds to begin turning the weed- and debris-strewn lot into the metro's latest retail-redundant boondoggle. But then the bond market tanked, and Threatt insisted on an immediate cash infusion.
To win over skeptical council members, the CDC-KC agreed to partner with RED Development, the company behind the Legends in western Wyandotte County. RED spokesman Dave Claflin says the partnership will basically consist of the CDC paying RED as a consultant. "We've never done an urban-core project like that and don't want to participate financially, but we are willing to consult with them and help them move along," Claflin tells The Pitch.
Sold! said the council, which rubber-stamped the advance, then ordered a $75,000 deli platter and told the school board to strip.
Friday, December 19: Keeping abreast
Local media, including Kendall, woke Friday morning to word that Don King would be in Kansas that day to pick up a whole bunch of birds for holiday tables (Plog: "Don King and 100,000 turkeys: only in Kansas"). The legendary boxing promoter planned to retrieve 100,000 frozen turkeys from National Cold Storage in Bonner Springs. The man's handlers noted that King has been delivering food to needy families for 40 years. Ignoring pleas that he stick around and remind Kansas Citians what joyous, entertaining venality looks like, King didn't answer a request for an interview. Instead, he took off to haul the first thousand turkeys to Mike Tyson.