Bryan Cave makes lots of money working for the TIF Commission – but doesn’t make everyone happy

Ground zero for a TID dispute

  • Ground zero for a TIF dispute

The Bryan Cave law firm makes a tidy keep from its work representing the Tax Increment Financing Commission of Kansas City.

From fiscal years 2010 to ’13, the firm’s lawyers (primarily partners Wesley Fields and Stephen Sparks) have billed $3.758 million to the agency that administers the often-used TIF development incentive. Those billings range from a low of $636,530 in 2010 to a high of $1.2 million in 2011. And those price tags have some TIF commissioners wondering if the agency should hire its own lawyer to reduce how much it spends on legal fees.

The TIF Commission vets requests for new TIF projects and changes to existing ones. It sends a recommendation to the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council for approval. The commission is under the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, a quasi-governmental agency that receives its funding partially from City Hall but also from a portion of revenues from the TIF projects that it endorses.

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