Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Untangling the Kansas casino legal mess: Dodge City Events Center issue

Questions that the various Dodge City Daily Globe articles by Mark Vierthaler on the $34 million casino infrastructure costs, forgot to ask, re: public funds paying for casino infrastructure --

Untangling the Kansas casino legal mess, By Rick Alm, The Kansas City Star, April 07, 2008

The question of public financing for state-owned casinos in Kansas is a sticky one. It’s also an odd one considering that state dollars and state manpower will be expended in coming years in the state’s role as casino owner.

That dilemma hasn’t come up yet.

For now, both sides in the battle are lawyered up, and the legal briefs are flying.

A lawsuit financed in part by Topeka-based taxpayer watchdog Americans for Prosperity-Kansas has alleged that all three casino projects proposed for Kansas City, Kan., violate the state casino law’s ban on public financing of casinos.

And from same article:

Kansas’ casino law is clear: “No state or local tax abatement … no revenue bonds, tax increment financing or similar financing shall be used to finance any part of any lottery gaming enterprise or any racetrack gaming facility.

Seems that with the location of our Events Center being decided, without vote, by a member of the private casino applicant Boot Hill Gaming Inc./Butler National -- ie., CFAB Chair Greg Starks -- that the Americans for Prosperity-Kansas will have a field day when public tax money is used to pay for $34 million dollars of infrastructure NOT NEEDED by our Events Center, except that the location was suddenly moved to help the CFAB Chair's private interests. Remember that Mr. Starks, for 10-years, pushed and pulled the Events Center to the center core of the city -- where the costs would be only a fraction of the 2-miles from downtown location that he wants now -- on land he brokered, from a fellow Boot Hill Gaming Inc. board member.

That Starks had to quit the gaming board was at least finally a statement of ethical problems, but of course, after the fact of his profit.

Time for the City/County Commissions to review the location of the public Events Center or state that the cost of at least half or more of the infrastructure must be paid by one of the two casino applicants, when awarded the exclusive multi-year contract by the State of Kansas.

Lawyers are going to love this otherwise.

Signed: Uncle George