Todd Graves hired to handle Zona Rosa issues

A familiar face to Platte County politics is returning in a new role to help county commissioners deal with the sticky situation at Zona Rosa.

Todd Graves

Todd Graves

At the Monday, Oct. 15 administrative session, commissioners approved a professional services agreement with Graves Garrett, the law firm of Kansas City attorney Todd Graves, who served as county prosecutor from 1994-2001 before his appointment as U.S. Attorney by President George W. Bush. Graves is also the brother of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves. According to the contract, the hourly rate for services is $375. The contract did not include a spending cap or time frame for services.

Commissioners held a closed-session meeting with Graves earlier this month to discuss the situation at Zona Rosa, with another scheduled for next week. Commissioners said they have met — individually — with the new ownership at Zona Rosa as well as new management firm Trademark Property Company. Second district commission John Elliott described the new situation as promising.

“They said they intend to invest a lot of money to encourage people to shop and dine there,” Elliott said. “The issue is that it doesn’t necessarily translate to money any time soon that will make the bond payments.”

According to presiding commissioner Ron Schieber, the county received notice from the bond trustee on Friday, Oct. 12 that revenues to make the bond payment were short more than $1 million. The bond payment due in December is $1.4 million.

The county still has money set aside for the payment, but has previously stated that without a long-range plan it may not make that payment. In recent weeks, the county’s credit rating took a serious hit due to this position statement.