Former Jackson County legislator sheds light on Chiefs, Royals situation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s not just the Chiefs who may find a new homefield advantage across the state line. Over the weekend, the Kansas City Royals indicate they’re exploring the incentives being debated in Kansas.

Jackson County Republican Legislator Sean Smith and Democratic Legislator Manny Abarca each asked about any updates on negotiations between Democratic County Executive Frank White’s office and the Chiefs and the Royals Monday.

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“You are correct that both the public is interested, and there’s not much more that we can say Legislator Smith, but we continue to move forward and are hopeful that we can come to some resolution in the near future,” White’s Chief of Staff Caleb Clifford responded to Smith Monday.

White was not in attendance for Monday’s County Legislative meeting.

Earlier Monday afternoon, FOX4 interviewed long time former Jackson County Democratic Legislator Dan Tarwater, who ran and lost a city council election in 2023 to KC Tenants Leader Johnathan Ducan. Dan’s brother Sean, a Republican from Stilwell, is trying to get the Chiefs to move across the state line.

“The Chiefs have openly stated they’re looking at all offers, and so, we’re focusing on them,” Sean said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday, June 5. “The Royals are continuing, from what I understand, they’re continuing to work with the city, since Frank White can’t figure it out.”

Three days later, the Royals came out with a statement potentially contradicting that, saying they’ll explore the state of Kansas and their Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) Bonds funding mechanism for a new stadium. The Chiefs haven’t said anything publicly over the last week, but on Tuesday, Kansas Republican House Speaker Dan Hawkins and Republican Senate President Ty Masterson each released a joint letter they sent to Chiefs Chairman Clark Hunt, asking him to consider building their new stadium in the Sunflower state.

“I have always been interested in the county executive and especially now, and it’s not just because I ran for another office and didn’t make it. I was a legislator for 28 years,” Dan said when asked Monday if he was interested in running for County Executive on the Democratic side in 2026.

Four days before the April 2 election, White told FOX4 he was also interested in running for re-election in 2026. Monday, Dan told FOX4 he does not see Kansas as a threat right now when it comes to the Chiefs and the Royals.

“As my brother Sean was explaining to me, it’s not that they want to steal these teams, they don’t, but what they’re trying to do is make sure that the Chiefs don’t go to some other area, and in ’06, I would have to tell you that, ‘yes, it was… they were looking at San Antonio, they were never going over to Wyandotte County,’ and the Royals were looking at that time about contraction.”

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White was against the ‘vote yes side’ in the recent April election that failed by 16% or more than 21,000 votes, and even though Dan voted yes, he does not think either team has two and a half more years to wait until White’s current term ends.

“Something has to be done now, and the issue is, and it’s not necessarily Frank White, it’s administration wise,” Dan continued talking about the teams’ timelines. “In 2006, we didn’t just say, which is one of his… ‘My phone works. You can call me.’ No, we actively worked with both teams. We actively worked with the community. We had everything in place. This one that just came up. I agree with the voters in some of this, is it was terribly disjointed.”

After Smith was done asking questions during Monday’s meeting, Abarca basically asked what would happen if he made a Sunshine request for the conversations between the county and the teams. County Counselor Bryan Covinsky responded that those records would not have to be disclosed. FOX4 got a similar response from Public Information Officer Marshanna Smith on Friday, May 24.

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