Saturday, February 16, 2019
TKC EXCLUSIVE!!! KANSAS CITY TAXPAYERS CULPABLE FOR FAA FINES AMID NEW AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT!!!
This week, out blog community BROKE AN IMPORTANT STORY about New KCI payouts planned but now put off by rules & regs amid a program name change.
Now . . .
KANSAS CITY INSIDERS WARN THAT, VIA THE GENERAL FUND, TAXPAYERS ARE ON THE HOOK FOR FINES IN THE SKETCHY NEW AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT!!!
Again and again KICK-ASS INSIDERS expose the lie that the new airport "won't cost Kansas City taxpayers a dime" because . . .
FREEBIE NEW KCI EMPTY PROMISES EXCLUDED FINANCING COSTS, UP FRONT SHORT-TERM BORROWING AND NOW POTENTIAL FINES!!!
This is an important think piece for a lot of reasons but mostly because . . .
As Kansas City is still debating the user agreement, maybe our City Council might want to think about clawbacks and penalties for developers if/when KCMO falls under FAA scrutiny and ends up charged fines. As it stands now, KANSAS CITY TAXPAYERS ARE TOTALLY EXPOSED whilst Mayor Sly & Jolie Justus urge Council to hurry and sign on the dotted line.
Here's the word . . .
New KCI “Community Benefits,” or the Semantics of Crime
KCI “community benefits” are back in the news.
This is another of the many ways the new airport could haunt taxpayers down the road. While City Council had no design specs or maximum price in mind when it received airport construction proposals, the so-called community benefits program stroked every political erogenous zone. A vast horde of cash for chumming votes. Tens-of-millions in a slush fund for daycare centers, worker training, historic preservation, etc.
The plan was to front-load the slush fund, paying these back later from revenues taken from the new airport. Then the FAA stepped in, warning that the city was creating a community crime program. The problem is illegal revenue diversion. As this piece notes, the Feds have long forbidden cities to use airports as “cash cows”. Another example of how KCI is becoming a poster child for how to screw up airport development. The basic idea is that all airport funds must be used directly for airport purposes. In this case, the FAA warned the city that funding social services in connection with the new airport, however commendable politically, is likely a violation of Federal law.
Which brings us to this week’s Aviation Committee meeting. We learned the city hopes to avoid being sued by renaming things. The term Community Benefits is out, replaced by “Terminal Workforce Enhancement Program.” This probably sounded better than changing it to “Seeking Campaign Augmentation Money” (SCAM). There was confusion. A Councilman asked if certain community benefits schemes were still part of the deal, despite the semantic evasions. No said the city attorney because that risked a Federal audit and possible criminal charges. Fascinating to watch public officials calculate how terminological changes might or might not evade crime.
How does this matter for taxpayers? The Federal criminal code says the city could be fined up to three times the amount of illegally diverted funds. If that happens, it will be taxpayer money. How is risking potentially millions in fines a community benefit? How much money has the city already spent/will it spend on attorneys to keep from being sued? How did we go down this rabbit hole instead of focusing on the best possible airport at the lowest possible price? We know the answer to the last question. They hang out at City Hall.
Developing . . .