Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dodge City Casino: (Sic et non; Yes and No)

1) Boot Hill Gaming Inc. is the applicant. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

They seemed to be the applicant until the applicant, Butler National Services Gaming Inc. applied. Now, they aren't in the application at all.

2) Jeff Thorpe speaks for Boot Hill Gaming Inc. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

Mr. Thorpe seemed to speak for Boot Hill Gaming Inc. when he spoke to the Kansas Legislative committee on the casino bill, but now seems to be speaking for Butler National Services Gaming Inc., although never stated in what financial relationship.

3) Boot Hill Museum Inc. will benefit directly from casino. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

Boot Hill Museum Inc., which at the time owned Boot Hill Gaming Inc. which at the time had the Ford Commission Chair and the Dodge City Mayor and the Chair of the CFAB Committee on its board -- a major point in getting the casino bill to re-include Ford County, all the community involved and money to Boot Hill Museum -- but now with a whole different applicant, many board members leaving Boot Hill Gaming Inc. and Boot Hill Museum now just in one of the 22-counties that is to received money from an unnamed to-be-Incorporated non-profit, hard to say.

4) Greg Starks not on CFAB due to conflicts of interest. (Sic et non; Yes and No)

Mr. Starks seems to be both on and off of the committee. Again, what it means and is it legal has not been questioned by any of the City Commission, etc.

Confused ? We know we are. If it didn't deal with $30 million in tax money (that's public money, folks), it would just be amusing. Since it does directly affect your Events Center (ie., Butler didn't want horses near their casino, so no horses ... duh, is this the Old West or what ?)

Stay tuned. [Sic et Non, an early scholastic text whose title translates from Latin as "Yes and No," was written by Peter Abelard. It juxtaposes apparently contradictory quotations from the Church Fathers on many of the traditional topics of Christian theology, circa 1200.]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Question: Was Dodge City Commission vote on Friday legal ?

Questions have been forwarded about the sudden meeting and vote of support for the Butler National Services Gaming casino proposal by the Dodge City Commission -- we don't know if it was legal -- guess the City Manager/City Attorney thought so -- but....

1) The meeting wasn't announced but a few days ahead of time;

2) The vote was made on an unfinished and unread (Sowers: "I haven't read it") 4-page motion without a number;

3) The annexation of the land involved wasn't yet legal due to the fact that it had not been published, a requirement of Kansas law, so the land wasn't in Dodge City yet, but was still in Ford County.

We don't know. Seems odd, for sure. Leave it up to lawyers later, I guess.

But 1, 2, and 3, are facts. As long as the City of Dodge City is fair to all (or any) other applicants, it shouldn't be an issue -- if Dodge City Commission is unfair -- lawyers will love it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Butler National Services Gaming: Part Two: Donate Land

One other question that didn't get ask by the Dodge City commission of Butler National Service (aka, Butler Gaming) -- given that Why Not Dodge tax funds will be used to prepare the land up to fifty feet from the possible casino -- ie., $4-5 million or more to put in roads, water, utilities, et al. -- often the quid pro quo is that the private land is donated to the cities involved.

Why didn't Mr. Sowers or Mr. Lee or Mr. Lembright ask about that ? (Mayor Smoll and Mr. Sherer were not at the meeting, by the way -- seems odd that the meeting couldn't be scheduled with all the commission present, but did avoid the questions about Smoll being on the Boot Hill Gaming board until recently and Sherer being on Boot Hill Museum board, etc.)

Donating the 33 acres (out of 400 Butler said they purchased) to the City of Dodge City for the Event Center would be a great way to 'pay' Butler Casino's share of this millions of dollars for improvements, won't it.

Since the Events Center is to be built years before the casino, I guess that buying that 33 acres from Butler would be much better for their cash flow, so no doubt not an idea that Butler Gaming wanted to talk about. However, the lack of any questions of meaning after the presentation -- is the casino going to be built with 'green' design elements, for example -- or with reduced water usage -- those also went unasked.

And no questions were asked at all about this new unnamed foundation Mr. Thorpe talked about that promises to help 22 counties, etc., and Boot Hill Museum, too. Seems like foundations make fees for managing money. That is a good question, also -- who will make money from this or will it be done volunteer with no fees?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Casino presentation -- need each citizen of SW Ks to come 10 times each year: half Latino

The over 1,000,000 visits a year to the casino required in the presentation by Butler National Services (ie, Butler National Gaming), means that over half of the visitors will be, of course, Latino. The ethic food area of the casino, it would seem, would be Mexican food. And of course, the 600 part-time and full-time workers -- goes without saying, that most will be speaking Spanish.

But, with no non-Anglo members of the city at the meeting today, this wasn't asked about -- nor was Boot Hill Museum promised anything directly in the presentation -- just a promise that a new, unnamed foundation would take money and distribute it to 22 counties -- no names, no officers, no nothing else official or yet on paper. Even the resolution voted on didn't have a number -- must have been some emergency to have such a fast meeting, huh.

That 90 percent or more of the profit made at the casino will go out of the county was not asked about, either.

There was talk of "high-roller" special rooms -- where people that didn't want to be seen, might gamble -- stars ?

Hey, this is going to be funny. More tomorrow after I stop laughing. By the way, Boot Hill Gaming, although the name was used, doesn't seem to be making the presentation anymore ? Can't be sure what's up with that corporation now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Joint City/County Meeting, September 21, 2007 5:00 p.m.

City/County endorsement of Boot Hill Gaming/Butler National Casino Management Application Proposal

Gee, guess no else needs to apply, huh. Wonder if the previous business connections between the city commissioner (Smoll), the county commissioner (Goodnight - on Boot Hill Board, too) and Boot Hill Gaming Inc. might be an issue -- no wait -- they aren't (currently) on that Boot Hill Gaming Board [and it seems that Jeff Thorpe speaks for Butler National Gaming, an out of town business].

That other applicants might have a better offer for the city/county must not be important to the commissioners. If I were another applicant, I would bring a lawyer right away. Should be fun going. Can Smoll and Goodnight even vote on the issue -- but wait, that involves ethics, never mind. And what are we annexing ? Joe Bogner's land [Yes] ? [Update: at Thursday meeting, no word at all about funding from casino to Boot Hill Museum, at least not stated directly?]

Joint City/County Meeting
City Commission Chambers
Friday, September 21, 2007 5:00 p.m.

City Approval of Annexation Ordinance No. 3438


1. City/County endorsement of Boot Hill Gaming/Butler National Casino Management Application Proposal

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CFAB Meeting, Thursday, Sept. 20, City Hall, 7 pm

Update, post meeting:

Boot Hill Gaming was not there [seems the Dodge City Globe reporter didn't hear Thorpe], but rather Jeff Thorpe, for Butler National Gaming -- not sure if he works for them or just has financial interest -- it wasn't made clear how he is Butler spokesman ? Butler wants to build casino maybe sometime next to events center -- that buys land from Butler [there's some capital] -- and then city pays for utilities up to 50 feet from casino -- that will save Butler millions. Also Butler doesn't want horses around so events center won't have horses. Butler should donate land for events center in return for all that savings, but that wasn't brought up.

Boot Hill Museum indicated that they will need $150,000 or so for next year, as they did this year. No action taken. They only have "100-ish" members, and did not talk about membership drives or fund raising, etc., normal for museums that need money.

Butler wants city/county commissions to back them before any other applicants make presentations, cut them off at the pass as it were.

Butler states they will have only 100 hotel rooms (much less than experts recommend), and a number of restaurants, one a buffet, one a (oh-boy) "upscale steak house." And retails stores. Bye-bye downtown Dodge. Bye-bye local restaurants. But then the Supreme Court of Kansas refuses to review that casino case yesterday -- adds months and months to anyone building anything to do with casinos.

CFAB member Ann Torrey even asked -- "what happens if we build the Events center next to a casino that doesn't get built?" Yep, that's a thought, Ann -- and an Events center that now will not have room for horses. So we'll need another events center after the first one and in addition to the civic center -- And that's a lot of money, folks.

Of concern is that Butler has a small profit for the 3-months ending Jan. 31, 2007 http://www.secinfo.com/dFf8.uc.htm --
$190,412 -- how they will be able to build $50 million casino is confusing.

And, yes, it is casino bud joe's land that is to be annexed by city, even before they know which applicant will build casino.


Of interest, given that this is CFAB (sans Greg Starks ?), that Boot Hill and Boot Hill Gaming are both making presentations. Citizens may want to come hear about their $30 million events center in this mix.

Community Facilities Advisory Board Agenda
September 20, 2007
City Hall Commission Chambers


Financial Report-Nannette Pogue, City Clerk

Status of Boot Hill Museum - Lara Brehm

Tourism Master Plan update - Heberling Assoc. Inc. - Ken Strobel, City Manager/City Attorney

Negotiation with Mike Burkhart update - Dodge Theater and adjacent buildings

Boot Hill Gaming - Jeff Thorpe

Friday, September 7, 2007

CFAB: Dodge City Raceway Park promoter steps down

Dodge City Raceway Park promoter steps down

"...I was happy to see the successes we had," he said. "I enjoyed working with people down at the track. But I just wasn't the right fit to be a city employee."

City manager and legal counsel Ken Strobel was unavailable for comment Thursday.


And CFAB wonders why we worry about them deciding about spending $30 million on an Events Center -- same CFAB chair Greg Starks -- can we say asphalt track -- that made all the earlier decisions. Gee, wonder how much more the track will cost this year ?