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Edgemoor meets with minority businesses about new KCI airport amidst concerns of ‘corruption and dishonesty’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After hitting some turbulence, it looks like Edgemoor’s billion dollar deal to build a new single-terminal Kansas City airport could soon be cleared for takeoff again.

On Tuesday, the Maryland-based company started trying to iron out some of the Kansas City Council’s key concerns that led them to vote down the memorandum of understanding with Edgemoor in the first place.

Those included claims that, despite being selected in the procurement process, Edgemoor wasn't the best choice for minority and women-owned businesses.

When the city and Edgemoor’s deal first seemed to sour, AECOM and Burns & McDonnell teamed up saying they were waiting in the wings. But perhaps more significantly, they had the endorsement of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City.

But at Tuesday's meeting, Edgemoor and its general contractor reminded minority and women-owned businesses they remain the only company with which the city is negotiating.

“The future of the project is with us," said Greg Colevas, division president of Clark Construction. "We are the selected contractor. We are actively having discussions with the city on the MOU and everything is moving forward."

After the dispute that forced Edgemoor to postpone it's final community design meeting after dozens had arrived, the company is now faced with the task of rebuilding relationships.

“I think people are skeptical," said Christal Watson, president of the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce. "There’s some perceptions of corruption and dishonesty."

Edgemoor has already selected 14 minority and women-owned businesses as design partners but still has many more companies to hire for construction if it gets the final approval to break ground.

Even though it’s still early on in the process, Kansas City Mayor Sly James told interested parties that the past in the past.

“Everybody has got to stop being territorial," James said. "It’s not about me, some council person, Edgemoor or labor. It’s about everybody, and we need to work together to get it done."

Edgemoor has pledged 35 percent minority participation but has faced challenges from union labor.

"I think what’s more important that we maintain integrity throughout this process, be as transparent as we possibly can and that the developers do what they say they are going to do," Watson said.

Edgemoor made good on its promise to return to the city’s southeast side for the community meeting it abruptly cancelled in December.

On Thursday, the Kansas City Council will meet to discuss issues it still has with Edgemoor's memorandum of understanding and how they could be worked out.