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American Royal names new CEO, won’t say how much money it’s raised for move to Kansas

American Royal moving to Wyandotte County

Angie Stanland, then chairwoman of the American Royal board of directors, announced in 2016 a $160 million project to move the Royal from the West Bottoms to the Legends area of Wyandotte County.
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Angie Stanland, then chairwoman of the American Royal board of directors, announced in 2016 a $160 million project to move the Royal from the West Bottoms to the Legends area of Wyandotte County.

The American Royal has tapped Glen Alan Phillips, who previously spent 18 years working for a stock show in San Antonio, Texas, to lead the Kansas City livestock organization later this year.

Phillips will become the American Royal’s chief executive on April 15. He takes over in a permanent leadership role for Lynn Parman, who left the organization last year for a position with McCownGordon Construction.

Phillips served in various positions with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo during his 18 years there, most recently as chief strategy officer, the American Royal said in a statement on Wednesday.

“With a proven track record of success in the livestock and entertainment industries, Glen Alan is a progressive and natural leader,” said Charlie Tetrick, chairman of the American Royal, in a written statement.

The American Royal also announced Wednesday that former Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Jackie McClaskey joined the organization and is responsible for fundraising and assisting with its planned relocation to Wyandotte County.

The American Royal announced in 2016 that it would move to a new site in Wyandotte County near the Kansas Speedway and the Legends Outlet Mall after it could not come to an agreement with Kansas City leaders on a plan to improve its facilities in the West Bottoms where it had been since 1899.

Then-Gov. Sam Brownback, the chief proponent in Kansas for the move, said the state would contribute $80 million in sales tax revenue (STAR) bonds to what was then a $160 million project. STAR bonds redirect sales taxes generated by a development that would otherwise go to government coffers instead to paying down debt incurred to build the project.

STAR bonds are powerful inducements for private developments and are intended for projects that are likely to attract visitors from outside of the area. The Kansas Speedway and Children’s Mercy Park, the home soccer stadium for Sporting Kansas City, are examples of projects that benefited from STAR bonds.

Developers awarded with STAR bonds are supposed to match the amount they receive from redirected sales taxes with private contributions, debt or equity.

The American Royal announced in 2016 that it would begin fundraising for its half of the $160 million project. Since then, the organization has been mum on how far along it is in raising at least $80 million.

The Star in December put that question to the American Royal.

“Our whole team at the American Royal couldn’t be more excited about the progress we’re making in Wyandotte County,” Tetrick said through a spokesman. “Our fundraising efforts are showing great momentum among individuals, companies and agriculture leaders from all around the country. We’re fortunate to have so many wonderful partners with this project.”

Asked again on Wednesday if the American Royal could be more specific, the organization declined to comment.

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Steve Vockrodt is an award-winning investigative journalist who has reported in Kansas City since 2005. Areas of reporting interest include business, politics, justice issues and breaking news investigations. Vockrodt grew up in Denver and studied journalism at the University of Kansas.


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