TOPEKA — Kansas Crossing has been granted another 90 day extension while the litigation against the casino developers proceeds.
According to a release from Kansas Crossing, Executive Director of Kansas Lottery, Terry P. Presta, approved a request by Kansas Crossing, LC to extend the commencement date for the winning Southeast Kansas casino project by another 90 days.
Cherokee County and Castle Rock Casino Resort filed cases challenging the award and approval of Kansas Crossing’s contract earlier this year.
Judge Larry Hendricks denied the plaintiff's motion for discovery in late October, clearing the way for the matter to move forward.
Initial briefs in the case are due Dec. 11 and "answer" briefs are due Dec. 21. Hendricks said at the time he would likely not get to the case until January. There will be no oral arguments unless requested by the parties.
Kansas Crossing lead investor Bruce Christenson said then the lawsuit is without merit.
“The judicial review action filed by Cherokee County and Castle Rock’s investors following the State’s selection of Kansas Crossing represent nothing more than last ditch efforts by sore losers to derail the project that won the competitive bid," Christenson said. "The competitive application process for the Southeast Kansas Casino Manager was transparent, legal and complete."
Castle Rock has alleged the process was rigged.
Russell Jones, with the Polsinelli law firm, which represents Castle Rock, said in September,  the group believes the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission not only made the wrong decision, but failed to follow the law.
The review board awarded the contract to the Kansas Crossing proposal, which totaled some $70.2 million, in June. It was the smallest of three competing proposals.
Castle Rock's bid was for a $145 million project for U.S. 400 near Interstate 44 in Cherokee County, and was the largest proposal.
Castle Rock's proposal was not only more than twice the size of Kansas Crossing's but was expected to bring in nearly 1 million visitors per year — mostly from out of state — about double the expectations from Kansas Crossing.
However an independent review questioned Castle Rock's ability to meet its debt service and to remain viable long-term.
Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director B.J. Harris said Wednesday the lawsuit is "unfortunate."
"I think it's pretty obvious ... the lawsuit is unfounded," Harris said. "Hopefully this will all get settled sooner rather than later and they can get back to construction and having the impact this will have."
The State of Kansas and local governments will lose nearly $5 million dollars during the 180-day delay, according to state-hired consultants.
In addition, other entities which stand to lose thousands of more dollars in direct and indirect impact because of the delay include USD 250, Pittsburg State University, Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Southeast Kansas Tourism Region. Among the biggest losers in this delay are the people of Southeast Kansas.  Kansas Crossing is projected to employ about 300 people.  Kansas Crossing also claims its commitment to hire at least 90 percent of its team members locally will bring more than $8 million in annual compensation into the region.  
“The continued delay results in millions of dollars of gaming revenue share lost by the State and local governments and will impede casino partnerships designed to increase tourism, support education and workforce development in Southeast Kansas,” Christenson said in the release. “I am extremely disappointed in what I would summarize as a frivolous legal action. Kansas Crossing stands ready to proceed with fulfilling its obligations under the Contract once the pending litigation is successfully resolved.”