New legal moves in Heartland Park purchase proposal

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two new legal moves in what’s become a lengthy, drawn out process of determining whether petitions demanding a public vote on the City of Topeka’s purchase of Heartland Park Race Track.

A day after the Kansas Court of Appeals set February 26th as the date to hear an appeal of a district court  throwing out those petitions, the city asked the court to move the hearing up a week because its attorney had a previously scheduled vacation.

In its request the city says moving up the date has been agreed to by all involved, including Jayhawk Racing which also wants the petitions rejected and Chris Imming, the man behind the petition drive.

Those petitions, which gathered more than 4,000 city residents’ signatures, were declared technically invalid on four different grounds by a Shawnee County District Court judge last fall.

Shortly afterwards, Imming’s attorney filed a request that a court ordered stay while the appeal is in process be extended. Currently the city cannot issue more than $5 million in additional STAR bonds to improve the area surrounding the track because of the court imposed stay. That stay, however, expires on February 5th, before the court has scheduled it’s oral arguments – or re-scheduled those arguments if they decide to honor the city’s request.

In it’s filing with the court, Imming’s attorney says they want to make sure the city does not try to sell the bonds between the time the current stay expires and the oral arguments are heard.

The city has previously stated they don’t intend to sell the bonds until the matter is resolved by the courts, fearing the lingering court issues would hurt the sale of the bonds.

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