WICHITA, KAN. — The Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity met with reporters today to discuss the group’s findings on the vetting process of the preferred developer for the West Bank development.
AFP-Kansas Field Coordinator Susan Estes called for the city to re-issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) after discovering an oversight in the vetting process; the developers’ municipal references were not checked by the city prior to the city council’s final selection of the River Vista Project developer last month.
After the developers’ proposals were made public earlier this summer, Estes said an observant AFP member noticed that Mayor Brewer, Councilman Meitzner, Councilman Longwell and the city manager were listed as references by three of the developers of the River Vista project. Upon contacting those elected officials and others listed as references for both proposals, Estes said with one exception, all of the elected officials questioned did not know they were listed and did not give permission for their names to be used as references. In fact, some said they would not have allowed their name to be used.
Estes said the findings are troubling, as the departure from written policy raises questions as to what other information may have been left out when city councilmembers discussed the proposals last month.
“The evaluation of developers is a closed process and records are not available to the public, so we must rely on the city to conduct a thorough investigation,” she said. “Knowing the municipal references were skipped leads us to ask, what other steps were missed? What other information wasn’t considered?”
Estes said that although officials have said the developers’ financial references were verified, there is no way to know for certain given the secretive nature of the process. She said these concerns are cause for an even closer examination at the developers and their proposals.
“We’d like to call on the city to re-issue the RFP so the vetting can fully and properly be carried out,” Estes said. “Taxpayers need to feel policies put in place to protect them are being followed.”