KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dialectic Engineering CEO Gregory Trees sent out an email to members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Tuesday evening just before 5:30, critical of the crime rate in the city.
“In the last six months my employees have endured two car thefts, catalytic converters thefts, harassment from homeless, human feces, used syringes, and spent bullet shells,” Trees said in the email.
Trees elaborated on the problems in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday.
“There’s an employee who had his car stolen two weeks ago, and he’s desperate,” he said. “He doesn’t have a car. His parents have to drive him to work, or he has to take an Uber.”
“When my lease expires, I will be moving my company to Overland Park, so I can look a new grad’s parent in the eye and say, “‘Your child will be safe working at our company,'” the email continued.
“The kid upstairs is fresh out of school and his car is stolen,” Trees said. “I guarantee you him and his parents are having a conversation like, ‘Is it safe for him to continue to work here?’ It’d be dumb not to.”
KC Chamber Vice President of Communications and Media Relations Pam Whiting told FOX4 the Chamber had seven different listening sessions with city residents as the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department searched for a new chief. She added the group’s been in contact with Omaha 360, an effective violent crime reduction effort in Nebraska. The chamber’s hoping to copy that, getting help from the organization KC Common Good.
“I’d refer you to our leadership, but everybody is in Germany right now on a trade mission aligned with the Kansas City Chiefs upcoming game,” Whiting said in a voicemail early Wednesday afternoon.
Trees says his dues to the chamber are about $3,800 a year.
“One-hundred percent,” Trees said when asked if he’d consider leaving the chamber. “If there were another chamber formed that was going to actually represent the businesses and negotiate with the Mayor on what we need in order to thrive, I’d totally would join that and have no problem with that.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas’ office released the following statement to FOX4 Wednesday night:
“Downtown Kansas City is one of Kansas City’s fastest growing neighborhoods. The mayor’s own experience living and working in Greater Downtown for the majority of his adulthood does not reflect the writer’s comments. That said, he welcomes the opportunity to meet with the letter writer and the Missouri governor’s appointees to the Board of Police Commissioners to see what steps may be best in addressing his concerns. Many crime categories, including shootings, are down as compared to recent years, but we endeavor to eliminate all violent and property crime in the city.”
“The mayor does wish to note that being homeless is not a crime and such persons cannot simply be rounded up and moved out of the city. The City is investing millions to ensure our unhoused population has pathways to permanent and stable housing, jobs, mental healthcare, and transportation.”
“The writer also seemed to criticize the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The critique was unnecessary and not germane to the point on public safety concerns. A city can have many different groups present and be safe. Kansas City will be a model in doing so.”
His lease at his building is not up until 2030.