Wichita’s Faulty Due Diligence

In the Wichita city council meeting on December 2, 2008, council member Jim Skelton questioned Allen Bell, Wichita’s director of urban development, about developers the city is considering working with on a TIF district. Specifically, Skelton asked if there was anything in the backgound of the developers that the council should be concerned about. Bell referred specifically to Grant Gaudreau, naming him as the “principal developer.” He said that the matters in Gaudreau’s past had been “resolved,” and had “no bearing” on this project. Video is available below.

According to Wichita Eagle reporting in the story 35 suits in developer’s past, Gaudreau’s past problems include bankruptcy and lawsuits regarding bounced checks and nonpaid bills. The bankruptcy is not troubling to me, as many entrepreneurs suffer through this as part of their acceptance of risk. Bounced checks at the grocery store and pet clinic, plus a recent auto repossession, are troubling. If someone won’t make good the checks they write at the grocery store, that’s a problem. The city should not partner with such a person.

Further, the Eagle story reports that the developer has an outstanding warrant for unpaid taxes in a neighboring county. That would contradict Mr. Bell’s claim that matters have been resolved.

Here’s the problem I have, and I think many citizens share this concern: Either Allen Bell and city staff didn’t know of all these things in Gaudreau’s past, or they knew about them but didn’t think they were a problem. The first case tells us that Mr. Bell’s office is not doing a thorough job. The second case tells us that Mr. Bell’s judgment does not reflect the concerns of the citizens of Wichita. In either case, there’s a problem at city hall.


4 thoughts on “Wichita’s Faulty Due Diligence”

  1. This is nothing new. In Wichita we love our corruption because it is all ours. The elected officials are all elected by the people they represent. Whenever there is a candidate or
    a public officials that stands for something they are not elected nor re-elected. That is why Wichita will continue to be what it is until enough people demand accountability.

  2. Let’s celebrate the 4th of July early!!!! What the heck is going on in this community…………flags are everywhere and the paid staff wait until they are asked a specific question before revealing what could be cause for concern.
    This happens on the city level, county and BOE…and it’s usually the same players that fail to keep the public duly informed.

    Obama just might have hit the nail on the head…….Time for a change and lots of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Yes, Bob, I have already sent my councilman, Skelton, an e-mail that I am not happy with city hall. Why can’t they research a developer just like the Eagle? Anytime a TIF is granted, it takes tax money away from the county. Thank goodness the county has veto power. But the school system could care less; they get their money by asking for bonds. As for the school system, how come it is always Schafer, Johnson, Cox & Frey that puts together their building plan? I wish Peterjohn was on the commission right now.

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