Citizens Bank of Kansas is drawn into political dispute via Facebook

WICHITA — A political dispute became a business one for Citizens Bank of Kansas on Monday.

Bank chairman Jane Deterding filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission late last month over Kansans for Responsible Government, Wink Hartman Sr.’s super PAC.

“I just did it individually,” Deterding says. “No covert operation here.”

Nor was there a connection to her family’s bank, she says.

However, State Sen. Michael O’Donnell has found one, and on Monday he used Facebook to share it.

“Ms. Deterding at the Citizens Bank of Kansas filed just completely baseless and false charges against me and Wink Hartman regarding involvement with the Tiahrt campaign,” says O’Donnell, whose Facebook profile picture is of himself with former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole.

“I got into politics with Bob Dole, and he taught us to play hard but play fair,” says Deterding, who worked for Dole from 1983 to 1987. “That’s not what’s happening in the Tiahrt campaign.”

Deterding, a friend and supporter of U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, says she believes that Hartman is inappropriately funneling money to the campaign of former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Pompeo’s opponent in the current 4th District House primary race. She says she believes that O’Donnell, Hartman’s marketing director, is serving as a go-between.

O’Donnell conducted a “poll” related to Deterding.

“Facebook poll: Who banks with Citizens Bank of Kansas? I’ve never come across such unethical leadership in my life,” O’Donnell wrote.

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Tiahrt establishes two new businesses for consulting and investments

WICHITA — After years of adhering to schedules that weren’t necessarily the ones he chose, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt now has two new companies where he calls the shots — including scheduling.

“I have more control of my time, which is something I covet,” he says.

Todd Tiahrt LLC is a consulting company, which will focus on aviation, aerospace and energy issues.

“I’ve done a lot of work in all three of those areas over the years,” he says.

Todd Tiahrt Enterprises is for other ventures.

“I’m looking for some places to invest,” Tiahrt says. “Not that I have a lot to invest, but I hope to some day.”

Almost all of his consulting clients, such as Hawker Beechcraft, are local. Tiahrt says he’s “trying to help with some local issues.”

“I just kind of know how things get done, and I’m trying to help people get things done.”

He’s spending about three weeks of every month in his Wichita office at 10500 E. Berkeley Square Parkway.

While “Tanker Todd” is known for his work helping Boeing get the $35 billion contract to build the Air Force’s new fleet of aerial-refueling tankers, he says he can help general aviation clients, too.

For instance, he says he worked to try and prevent user fees that have to be paid every time a plane takes off and lands.

“It has a devastating impact on the number of people who fly,” Tiahrt says. “I’ve opposed that strongly in Congress.”

Tiahrt says he looks forward to having a more in-depth focus on a limited number of subjects, “rather than the last 16 years when I had to know a little bit about everything.”

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Equity Financial Center has a few new leases, including Rep. Mike Pompeo’s future office and new Key Management offices

WICHITA — There are a few new leases to report at Equity Financial Center at Kellogg and Rock.

There’s only about 3,000 square feet left to lease in the 100,000-square-foot building.

“That’ll put us at 97 percent occupied,” says Joe Verbeckmoes, who handles leasing for property owner Market Parking Inc.

The leases include:

– Rep. Mike Pompeo’s future office.

The Wichita Republican’s temporary office is in Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s former space at 155 N. Market. As an incoming freshman representative, it was a requirement for Pompeo to locate in that space on a transitional basis.

The new Pompeo office, which will open sometime in March, will be in almost 3,000 square feet.

“It’s a much more cost-effective space for us and the taxpayers,” says Rachel Taylor, director of communications.

Helping the selection, she says, is the building’s free parking and location at what she calls the crossroads of the Fourth Congressional District.

Key Management, which handles multifamily residential and some commercial management, also is moving into the building near the end of March or the first part of April.

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Brit Hume is the speaker for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce annual dinner

WICHITA — Two weeks after this November’s elections, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is bringing in a speaker to help dissect them.

Broadcaster Brit Hume, who is with Fox News, is the speaker for the chamber’s annual meeting on Nov. 16.

“It’s just a great opportunity for us to hear from someone who lives it every day,” says chamber spokeswoman Barby Jobe.

She says Hume’s talk is likely to focus on what the latest headlines out of Washington mean for business owners here.

“We always strive to find people . . . that maybe the community hasn’t had an opportunity to hear from,” Jobe says.

Will the connection to the often polarizing Fox News keep some people away, though?

“I hope not,” Jobe says. “He’s always been a fair person. I think his experience speaks for itself.”

The chamber also is hosting a July 13 debate with Republican U.S. Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt., who are vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Sam Brownback.

This spring, the chamber canceled a federal issues forum where Moran was going to be the featured speaker after complaints from Tiahrt’s office and some members.

Jobe says the debate isn’t related to the forum or its cancellation.

“This was always on the radar screen to do,” she says. “We feel it’s really important.”

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce cancels issues forum after calls of complaint

WICHITA — The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has canceled a federal issues forum it planned for April 19 in response to complaints from its members and U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s office.

“We’ve been well communicated with,” says Sam Williams, chamber chairman.

“It’s a political year, and we didn’t probably pay enough attention to the political ramifications.”

The chamber invited U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran to speak at the forum.

Moran and Tiahrt, both Republicans, are running against each other for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat.

Williams says the forum is meant to be a nonpolitical gathering to discuss issues in Washington that affect local businesses.

“We thought this was going to be pretty interesting just because of all the health care stuff going on,” Williams says.

With the pressure that everyone is under these days, though, he says, “Things that maybe in the past wouldn’t have been so important just get overblown.”

The forum will be rescheduled, but neither Moran nor Tiahrt will be at it.

“Bottom line?” says Todd Novascone, Moran’s chief of staff. “As of yesterday or the day before, we are disinvited.”

Regarding Tiahrt’s office, Novascone says, “I don’t want to use the word arrogant . . . but I’ve never seen pressure like that. It just kind of really shocked me.”

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You don’t say

“I’m good with that.”

— U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, speaking at a Monday aviation luncheon in support of his Senate campaign, on how Northrop Grumman might not bid for the tanker contract

Hartman announces more Jimmy’s Egg plans

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. formally announced his bid for Congress today but still had time to talk business, too.

The seemingly always-busy Hartman is bringing another Jimmy’s Egg to Wichita and about 20 more to Houston.

First, the next Wichita restaurant.

Hartman and business partner Whitney VinZant will build their fifth Wichita Jimmy’s Egg at 47th and Broadway.

It’s not a done deal yet, but Hartman says, “Everybody’s agreed to agree.”

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