TOPEKA — A House committee advanced a resolution Tuesday requiring the attorney general to sue over the state awarding the Sumner County casino contract to Peninsula Gaming.
The resolution will now go to the full House. It would call upon Attorney General Derek Schmidt to file suit to resolve two questions:
–Whether Peninsula Gaming met contract stipulations. Opponents of the casino complained that the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission approved a contract with Peninsula Gaming in January even though the Mulvane City Council did not approve the final zoning for the casino until last week.
–Whether a Kansas Expanded Lottery Act stipulation that elected officials cannot involve themselves in the process is constitutional.
“This is an effort by the committee to get rid of the cloud hanging over the casino regarding a number of different questions,” said Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Bel Aire.
By law, the attorney general is required to represent the state in court if either house or the governor calls upon him to do so.
If the bill passes, House Speaker Mike O’Neal said, the attorney general will be required to take an action in quo warranto, which he called “a way to challenge the way a government commission acted.”
The Attorney General’s Office is waiting to see if the bill passes the House before commenting or saying where the suit might be filed, said Jeff Wagaman, deputy chief of staff for Schmidt’s office.
O’Neal said the state Supreme Court, which has original jurisdiction in such cases, might be where the case would begin, but that is up to the attorney general.
Driving the resolution are issues regarding drainage and traffic around the casino, which some claim were not sufficiently resolved before the contract was awarded.
Another motivation, Brunk said, are misdemeanor charges against two Peninsula Gaming executives accused of illegally funneling $25,000 in campaign contributions to the former governor of Iowa.