- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) - Cherokee County commissioners have signed an agreement with a Missouri company that will pay legal bills the county amassed while fighting a proposed casino for nearby Crawford County.

The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1QhAgK6 ) reports the commissioners and Penfield’s Business Centers signed an agreement on Oct. 26. The company will pay the county’s legal fees, which are close to $150,000 so far. The agreement says the county has two years to repay the money if the state-owned casino is shifted to Cherokee County.

If no casino is built, the county does not have to reimburse the money.

Cherokee County has filed a lawsuit, saying state regulators arbitrarily awarded the casino contract to Crawford County. Cherokee County was the selection process to be redone.

The funds to cover legal fees will come from company managing partner Gary Hall, who owns land that would have been purchased if Cherokee County won the contract.

According to Hall, he is paying the county’s legal fees because he believes the community would benefit from a casino, and that the casino could bring a hockey team and poker tournaments.

Carrie Tedore, spokeswoman for Kansas Crossing project in Crawford County, questions why Hall is footing the legal bill.

Tedore said in a statement, “In my opinion, it simply shows the county commissioners are continuing a meritless action for the benefit of a couple of its wealthier citizens and their last-ditch efforts to sell outrageously priced land.”

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com


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