Michigan company involved in disputed Wichita airport contract contributes to Jeff Longwell

A campaign finance report filed by Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell contains contributions from executives associated with Walbridge, a Michigan construction company partnering with Key Construction to build the new Wichita airport terminal.

Longwell is running for Sedgwick County Commission, District 3. He faces Karl Peterjohn in the August 7, 2012 Republican party primary.

These contributions are of interest because on July 17, 2012, the Wichita City Council, sitting in a quasi-judicial capacity, made a decision in favor of Key and Walbridge that will cost some group of taxpayers or airport customers an extra $2.1 million. Five council members, including Longwell, voted in favor of this decision. Two members were opposed.

These parties and dollar amounts appeared on Longwell’s campaign finance report filed on July 30, 2012:

John Rakolta, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Walbridge, $500
Terry Rakolta (apparent spouse of John Rakolta), $500
Vincent J. Deangelis, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Walbridge, $500
Ronald Hausman, Executive Vice President, Walbridge, $500
Ester Hausman (apparent spouse of Ronald Hausman), $500
Scott Penrod, Vice President, Walbridge, $250
Randy Abdallah, Senior Vice President, Walbridge, $250
Elizabeth Wasiniak, Walbridge, $250

The total is $3,250. The first two contributions were made on July 16, 2012, and the rest on July 20, 2012, according to Longwell’s campaign finance report. The Wichita city council handled the Key/Walbridge contract at its July 17, 2012 meeting.

Besides the Walbridge contributions, Key Construction and its executives contributed $6,500 to Longwell’s county commission campaign. Key and its executives have been heavy contributors to Longwell’s other campaigns, as well as to Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and many other Wichita City Council members. Brewer and Key executives also travel together on fishing expeditions.

Timeline

February 24, 2012: Bids for new airport terminal opened. Dondlinger Hunt did not meet the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contract goal for participation at the time of bid opening, as required by the bid documents. Dondlinger supplies additional information.

April 2, 2012: Wichita Airport Authority staff found Dondlinger Hunt bid insufficient to meet federal requirements.

May 31, 2012: Director of Airports, acting as reconsideration official, affirmed that Dondlinger Hunt bid is non-responsive.

June 22, 2012: Contract Compliance Officer for the City of Wichita also found Dondlinger Hunt bid to be non-responsive.

July 3, 2012: Board of Bids found Dondlinger Hunt bid to be non-responsive.

July 16, 2012: John Rakolta, Chairman and CEO of Walbridge, and Terry Rakolta contribute $1,000 to Jeff Longwell’s campaign.

July 17, 2012: Wichita City Council on 5 to 2 vote found Dondlinger Hunt bid to be non-responsive. Key/Walbridge is presumptive contract winner.

July 20, 2012: Other Walbridge executive contribute $2,250 to Jeff Longwell’s campaign.

July 30, 2012: Campaign finance report filed.


7 thoughts on “Michigan company involved in disputed Wichita airport contract contributes to Jeff Longwell”

  1. This is so horrid! If Longwell was going to accept donations from these people, he should have recused himself from the votes on the project, at the very least.

    I think the Kansas Legislature should pass a law stating that same thing: Anyone accepting donations for their campaign must recuse themselves on votes that involve said donator!

    This is such poor character, and shows very little integrity on Mr. Longwell’s part. I am embarrassed that he is my City Council member. This behavior is corrupt, IMHO.

  2. Is this really legal to do? Seems like it should be illegal.

    I am speechless with shock at this blatant lack of character that Mr. Longwell must have in order to accept such donations with such murky links as these.

  3. What political donations have Dondlinger made to support the campaigns of local officials? Just to have a clearer picture..

    Political contributions are legal, and with the Citizens United decision responsible for more corrupting money being poured into the system…well, what’s $500 here or there when 5 million can be dropped anonymously and nary a word from VOL is heard about it.

  4. The citizens of Wichita elected Longwell twice, consequently, the voters loved the corruption. In addition, Longwell learned from the corruption master: Mayor Brewer!

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