City of Topeka asks state appeals court to let stay on Heartland Park bond sale

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The City of Topeka and Jayhawk Racing, Inc. Friday asked the Kansas Court of Appeals to allow a court-ordered stay to expire on February 5th, potentially opening up a chance for the city to sell $5 million in new STAR bonds to improve the area around Heartland Park race track.

The city has been trying to purchase the track and sell additional STAR bonds to make the improvements since last fall, but is currently embroiled in a lawsuit by organizers of a petition who want the purchase put to a public vote.

The Kansas State Court of Appeals has said it will hear oral arguments on both sides on February 26 as those behind the petition fight to get a lower court ruling the petitions invalid overturned.

Earlier this month the court requested legal briefs on the arguments and issued a stay blocking the sale of those bonds, or completing the purchase entirely, until February 5th.

Yesterday (Thursday) those behind the petition asked the court to extend that stay until the oral arguments happen to prevent the city from selling the bonds between February 5th and the scheduled hearing on the 26th.

Today the City told the court organizers argue “..a stay is inappropriate because it contravenes the explicit intent of the Legislature (and)…he still has not made the necessary showing for his desired stay.”

Jayhawk Racing, Inc., the main tenant of the financially trouble race track, told the court it already expects to be out of business by the time the appeals process has run it’s course but urged the court to let the current stay expire.

It a separate filing Friday Jayhawk argues “Allowing a disgruntled citizen to disrupt the workings of a municipal government by means other than those proscribed by Kansas law does not ‘protect the democratic process.'”.

Both are requesting the petition organizer, Chris Imming, be required to put up more than $5 million in supresedeas bonds to indemnify the two should Imming ultimately fail in his appeal and the sale falls through because of the lengthy court delays.

Thursday, the city also asked the February 26th hearing date be moved up a week. The court has not acted an any of the requests to this date.


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