The calls, according to those who have received them, claim Edgemoor Infrastructure — the company that has been selected to design and build the terminal — has declined to explain its proposed financing structure at KCI.
The calls further claim Edgemoor opposes a community benefits package as part of its potential agreement with the city; that it wants $30 million from the city for its costs; and that the firm has not made Kansas City “a priority.”
The person or organization behind the phone call is not revealed, which should give recipients a good understanding of its value. Which is zero.
The call ends with a request for the recipient to join the effort to oppose Edgemoor.
For the record: Edgemoor has offered a debt-financed airport project, forgoing any company equity investment. That could save fliers $90 million.
It has offered a community benefits package worth $24.2 million, including day care, transportation, apprenticeships and other local benefits. The $30 million termination agreement is a cap and covers the firm’s costs if the city, not the company, walks away from the deal.
Edgemoor is still negotiating a so-called memorandum of understanding with the city, in which these issues and others will be addressed. Specific language may yet change.
But there is no indication the company has been obstructionist in those talks or has approached the negotiations in bad faith. On Thursday, City Council members were given a chance to publicly outline their concerns.
That process must be allowed to continue unimpeded to its conclusion, perhaps later this month.
All of Kansas City should be appalled by a secret attempt to undermine the negotiations through political phone calls. The airport agreement must be based on facts and analysis, not on political pressure from an unnamed source.
Yet we should not be surprised. For months — since Edgemoor was first picked in September — a subversive campaign has been conducted quietly in an effort to block that choice.
“I’ve never seen an entity … continue to do this sort of negative campaigning after the fact,” Edgemoor managing director Geoffrey Stricker told The Star Friday.
Some may believe collapse of the Edgemoor bid would force the city to turn to the second-place finisher, AECOM, and its new partner Burns & McDonnell. They should not be so sure. Kansas Citians would demand re-opening of the bid process in the face of such sabotage.
That would push back the airport project by a year, maybe more.
Kansas City area travelers are likely to save almost $400 million because Edgemoor stepped forward to offer its services for the airport. That doesn’t mean the company should be handed a blank check, but it does mean the firm has a right to expect a fair negotiation and transparent process.
A secret robocall undermines that. Ignore it.