OLATHE, Kan. — The contractor at the heart of the explosion at JJ’s Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza told the city it did file for proper city permits. However, the city claims it does not have a record of their permit application.
In emails and documents obtained by FOX 4, Heartland Midwest disputes reports it waited until the day after the deadly explosion to file for proper permits.
Heartland Midwest sent a copy of the faxed permit application to the city as proof it previously tried to apply for an excavation permit near JJ’s as early as Feb. 6. But, Assistant City Manager Pat Klein said the city has no record of receiving the permit. And, Klein added, if the city did, the application was incomplete and a permit would not have been granted.
Klein said an internal audit of the city fax machine showed Heartland’s phone number sent an incoming fax — but no copy of the fax had ever been seen until Heartland emailed the city its copy.
The Kansas City Star reported Heartland’s attorney, Brad Russell, claimed the city regularly allows construction companies to do work before they have been granted a permit, as long as they have applied for one.
The city denies that claim.
FOX 4 spoke to another construction company who said they would never begin work without a permit. An employee stated they have “held up” digs until the city permit was in hand.
FOX 4 could not reach anyone at Heartland Midwest for comment and Russell did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.