Kansas City, Mo. — Years of sparring over event-booking policies at Bartle Hall came to a head Tuesday when a top consumer show producer sued Kansas City for better show dates.
Pat Riha Productions alleged that city officials reneged on dates they promised the company in 2001 for Riha's 2004 annual Boat and RV shows. The company alleged that some of those dates were given to another show in violation of written city policies.
The city "should not be permitted to whimsically ignore its written, established policies," said the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit seeks an immediate injunction barring the city from switching show dates in violation of its policies and restoration of the 2004 dates originally pledged to Riha.
City officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.
In July 2001, Riha was tentatively awarded dates in February 2004 for its annual boat and recreational vehicle consumer shows.
But in September 2002, the city's Department of Convention and Entertainment Centers abruptly bumped each show back one week to accommodate the 2004 World of Wheels auto show during some of the same February time frame pledged to Riha.
Company president Patrick Riha said he and his lawyers had sought to compromise out of court, even agreeing to a city request late last week to hold off filing the lawsuit for a few days. But Riha said Tuesday that city officials had never brought a firm offer to the table.
While he would not discuss the lawsuit, William H. LaMette, director of the Convention Centers Department, said Tuesday that his office was still awaiting word from World of Wheels show promoters on whether they would switch their dates to accommodate Riha.