Despite allegations, Wichita’s Dave Burk remains favored

As Wichita proceeds with the redevelopment of its downtown, one developer seems to be on the cutting edge of harvesting corporate welfare — despite his past behavior. Last year this person, Dave Burk of Marketplace Properties, acted in a way the Wichita Eagle described as deceptive in order to reduce his property taxes. Yet, Burk remains a favored developer at city hall, and he’s soon going to ask taxpayers to pay higher taxes for his benefit. These are the same taxes he himself doesn’t like to pay. The following article from February 2010 explains.

Today’s Wichita Eagle contains a story about a well-known Wichita real estate developer that, while shocking, shouldn’t really be all that unexpected.

The opening sentence of the article (Developer appealed taxes on city-owned property) tells us most of what we need to know: “Downtown Wichita’s leading developer, David Burk, represented himself as an agent of the city — without the city’s knowledge or consent — to cut his taxes on publicly owned property he leases in the Old Town Cinema Plaza, according to court records and the city attorney.”

Some might say it’s not surprising that Burk represented himself in the way the Eagle article reports. When a person’s been on the receiving end of so much city hall largess, it’s an occupational hazard.

And when you’ve been the beneficiary of so much Wichita taxpayer money, you might even begin to think that you shouldn’t have to pay so much tax anymore.

At the state level, you might seek over a million dollars of taxpayer money to help you renovate an apartment building.

Burk has certainly laid the groundwork, at least locally. A registered Republican voter, Burk regularly stocks the campaign coffers of Wichita city council members with contributions. These contributions — at least for city council candidates — are apparently made without regard to the political leanings of the candidates. How else can we explain recent contributions made to two city council members who are decidedly left of center: Lavonta Williams and Janet Miller? Burk and his wife made contributions to their campaigns in the maximum amount allowed by law.

This is especially puzzling in light of Burk’s contributions to campaigns at the federal level. There, a search at the Federal Election Commission shows a single contribution of $250 to Todd Tiahrt in 2005.

It’s quite incongruous that someone would contribute to Tiahrt, Williams, and Miller. Except Williams and Miller can — and have — cast votes that directly enrich Burk. Politicians at the federal level don’t have the same ability to do that as do Wichita city council members. Well, at least not considering Wichita city business.

So which is it: is Burk a believer in Republican principles, a believer in good government, or someone who knows where his next taxpayer handout will come from?

Burk’s enablers — these include Wichita’s lobbyist Dale Goter, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation president Jeff Fluhr and chairman Larry Weber, Wichita City Manager Robert Layton, Wichita economic development chief Allen Bell, and most importantly Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and various city council members — now have to decide if they want to continue in their efforts to enrich Burk. Continuing to do so will harm their reputations. The elected officials, should they run for office again, will have to explain their actions to voters.

At the state level, the bill that will enrich Burk will likely be voted on in the Kansas Senate this week. Then, similar action may take place in the Kansas House of Representatives. Let’s hope they read the Wichita Eagle in Topeka.


11 thoughts on “Despite allegations, Wichita’s Dave Burk remains favored”

  1. Wow, all this personal attack and sleazy innuendo because someone is trying to pay less taxes? Hardly rings true from an anti-tax man. Did Burk fail to pass your purity test?

  2. John,

    “Just like a typical LIBERAL to make a personal attack on Bob Weeks’ perfect work!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!”

    Where have we heard this BS before?

    Good point, John. Bob, you’re a hypocrite. Carry on, all.

  3. Don’t blame poor Bob Weeks. He likely can’t get a job anywhere else and he has to say whatever the Koch machine tells him to say.

  4. Can anyone misrepresent themselves and continue to benefit? Well in Wichita we can. Bob deserves a vote of thanks from all the Wichitans who care about this community as well as the tattered principles this country was founded upon over 200 years ago.

    Mr. Burk operates like a 19th century character in conjunction with George Washington Plunkitt. Anyone who really knows of politics know of GW Plunkitt of Tammany Hall. “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall,” is a short book that remains in print despite the fact that it was written in the 19th century by a newspaper reporter covering the financial shenanigans in NY city under this nasty political machine.

    Mr. Burk would fit right into the “honest graft,” that is written about in this book as one of Mr. Plunkitt’s favorite tools. In fact he might even fit into the “dishonest graft,” that is mentioned based upon his misrepresentation as an agent of the city that Bob repeated in a Wichita Eagle report.

    That isn’t to say that Mr. Burk lacks friends. See some of the comments above from “rex” and “john”. Crony/state corporatism is popular among big government advocates regardless of whether they call themselves “socialists,” “progressives,” “liberals,” or their most common Kansas self description, “moderates.”

  5. “T. Rex” posts that use the word “Koch,” need to be removed. If rex can post anything that does not include this word, you should readily permit it, but this person’s repeated fixation on this word is an unnecessary waste of space. Having read a number of “rex’s” posts, I doubt that this person possesses the necessary skills to write comment without using the word “Koch.”

    If not, “rex” can go post on some statist/leftie web site with the rest of his leftie pals. Rex’s ridiculous one note ad hominem attacks reduces the signal to noise ratio on this valuable web site.

  6. How does he pay to run this? Out of his own pocket because he is a True Believer..something most of you critics would never understand!
    Regardless or not whether one agrees with Mr. Weeks you have to admire the guy for being so well informed..much moreso than most of our elected officials!
    And re Dave Burk who is one of the nicest guys around.. Burk struggled for many years in Old Town making very little money and I am sure he now feels entitled to his “fair” share. I can remember a former City Manager saying that while talented, Burk always wanted to do everything with City money or someone elses, So while we can now boast of a thriving Old Town. The fact of the matter is, much has happened in this CID district with taxpayer money because I assume investors are not sold on the profitabilityof risky deals and the ROIs are not strong enough . Businesses are not thriving in Old Town..just ask any shopkeeper down there.Those who try are applauded and welcomed to the merchant association. Many of these Mom and Pop operations have lost their shirts while the Burks and Warrens feed off the stupidity of elected officials who have never risked a dime of their own money to be successful business men/women. These officials have no qualms about risking other people’s money because in their minds they have the right to do so .
    Bob Weeks pays his own way and is beholdin’ to no one except
    the free market principles he espouses. And for that he desrrves respect.

  7. So an unemployed man pays for this website out of pocket? One can assume he’s taking taxpayer money for unemployment insurance, so are taxpayers indirectly sponsoring this site?

    Is this true, Bob?

  8. Yes he does, What is umemployment insurance? Isn’t that something we as individuals are forced to pay for when we have worked? It’s not a hand out and it is not ongoing.And secondly why do you care? You don’t seem to care when elected official saccept contributions and then approve tax subsidies for the givers. YOu sound like a guy who wants to police how people use their food stamps. You are exactly what is wrong with this country. IT is none of you business how people spend their money, as long as it is there money.

  9. While your inane assumptions and ad hominem attacks on me are amusing, Comrade (“you don’t seem to care…”), they still doesn’t answer my question. How is this site paid for?

    Is it out of your surely deep personal pockets, Bob? Do billionaire conservative front groups foot the bill? Neither would be illegal, I suppose. Though the Kansas Department of Labor would probably be interested in the latter, no?

    So I ask yet again: Just how exactly is this site–and the efforts putting it together–paid for?

  10. I said this one.Bob receives no help in paying for any of this. I have personally tried to “support” his effortsbut he refusesas he feels he can report fairly as long as he is beholding to no one
    As far as adhominen attacks go I apologize if that’s how you percieved it. Try thisone on” pot calling the kettle black”

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