Nine years ago a group from Overland Park (11600 College Blvd) sent “staff” to attend the first ‘New York Gaming Summit’ in Las Vegas. This organization still exists and is based in Las Vegas. Access to information is very poor. Of the 300+ attendees nine years ago, this group from OP was the only one from Kansas. Please note County Commissioner Eilert was the Mayor of OP. The College Blvd address comes back to an office building but I have no clue who was there nine years ago. http://www.nysummit.com/pressreleases/NYGSattendees.html
Until I made it known, Overland Park Chamber of Commerce had a Casino Category on it’s membership list. http://www.opks.org/members.asp?id=2
Overland Park Chamber of Commerce is tracking and communicating the status of Kansas casino activities. http://www.overlandparkbusinessvote.com/newsArticle.jsf?documentId=2c9e4f6921e7a79c0121e8f4ec7a022f
Nearly half of The Overland Park Chamber of Commerce 2009 Legislative Summary involves annexation reform bills in Topeka http://www.opchamber.org/upload/file/09VotingRecord.pdf
Last year the State House seriously considered http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2008/2569.pdf which would permit casinos in JoCo. The force behind this bill is from JoCo http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/180627/kansas_could_offer_las_vegas_style.html?cat=8
More detailed information on Mr. Phil Ruffin can be found here http://nolathe.com/FOR_SALE_-_MAKE_OFFER.html He is heavily involved in Las Vegas casinos http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2008/12/15/MGM-to-sell-Treasure-Island-to-Phil-Ruffin/UPI-26671229367948/ He has contributed $100,000’s to Kansas Legislators which has influenced both the gaming and annexation laws.
If you look at the Kansas area near Joplin, there are 3 State Senators and 5 State House Members. All eight (yes, including Derek Schmidt) received Ruffin money. http://www.joplinglobe.com/statenews/local_story_091235008.html
Through out the entire state, there is only one other clustering like this and it’s Overland Park. Two State Senators (Owens and Vratil) and five House members (Rardin, Slattery, Colloton, Spalding and Worley) have received substantial and multiple contributions from Mr. Ruffin. They also all (100%) voted against annexation reform. Just to show the significance of this and to show it’s not just a coincidence, State Legislators from Olathe received $0.00 from Mr. Ruffin and in general supported annexation reform.
To Mr. Ruffin abuse of the annexation statutes and gaming are all the same issue. After all, it is the easiest means for a city to make room for a casino.
Now we come back to Commissioner Eilert. In summary of his 2006 Campaign Contributions he raised $46,687 from 198 contributions. Under $151= $8,875 from 87 contributions. Real Estate= $8,912 from 25. Construction= $10,850 from 27. Attorneys= $5,000 from 13. Bank/Investors= $3,450 from 10. Consultants= $2,300 from 10. Retired= $2,200 from 9. Business= $2,700 from 8. Misc= $2,300 from 9. Details of Campaign Contributions can be viewed here: 7/24/06 img008 10/30/06 img009 1/10/07 img011
It is clear that BIG things were expected from the former Mayor. It took about one year for Overland Park to get the mass annexation through the BOCC.
But there is one little nugget almost lost in the documents. A contribution from Las Vegas.
AG Spanos is another self made billionaire http://agspanos.com/ They specialize in large scale land development. Their midwest regional office recently relocated to Overland Park http://www.manta.com/company/mm2v00x so why did their contribution come from Las Vegas.
View Sarah’s story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUWuUvOZ7RY
“The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted.” James Madison