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Archive for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rhoades recants, apologizes for bribery allegation against KTA chief

March 12, 2013

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— The chairman of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee said Tuesday that he was misunderstood and didn't mean to imply that the head of the Kansas Turnpike Authority had offered $25 million to kill a proposal to merge the turnpike with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The allegation made Monday elicited a strong denial from KTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Johnston.

At the start of Tuesday's Appropriations Committee meeting, Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said his comments had not been clear, and he apologized if he had implied wrongdoing.

He later said he needed to be more careful about what he said during committee meetings.

Johnston said he wasn't satisfied. "How do I get my good name back?" he asked.

Johnston said he met with Rhoades Monday to discuss Rhoades' comment. "I met with him yesterday afternoon at 4:30 and told him in no uncertain terms that whatever he said with respect to an offer I allegedly made to the governor was absolutely false, preposterous and laughable."

Johnston said he ran into Gov. Sam Brownback "and had a similar conversation with him."

Rhoades said on Tuesday that when he brought up the $25 million during Monday's committee meeting, it was in the context of having heard that the KTA had $25 million in profits that could potentially be used to help the state budget.

Johnston said the KTA has reserves on hand but they are dedicated to future work on the turnpike.

Brownback has proposed merging the KTA and KDOT, saying that would produce savings of $30 million over two years, although no one from the administration has outlined how those savings would occur.

Comments

MarcoPogo 1 year, 9 months ago

"Aaaaahh, I'm sorry, bro. I was drunk. Are we cool now?"

patkindle 1 year, 9 months ago

nothing going on here, politictians only lie when their lips move

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

Johnston said he wasn't satisfied. "How do I get my good name back?" he asked.

Hey Mike, you lost your good name when you became a politician.

Lee Saylor 1 year, 9 months ago

Johnson is not a politician, he's a bureaucrat.

costello 1 year, 9 months ago

He's a citizen like the rest of us. Is this what we have to fear if we dare disagree with our government? A taint put on our reputations by sly innuendos from legislators?

webmocker 1 year, 9 months ago

leesaylor 5 hours, 17 minutes ago

"Johnson is not a politician, he's a bureaucrat."

He is now a bureaucrat, but he was once a politician. If he did not go through the proper channels to regain his good name, he might not have one. :-)

FROM KTA WEBSITE "Michael L. Johnston joined the KTA at the start of 1995. Prior to this position, he served the state of Kansas as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation from 1991 through 1994. He is a former state senator and served 14 years in the Kansas Legislature."

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

He served for several years as a member of the House of Representatives from Parsons on the democratic ticket before being elected to the Kansas Senate. After retiring from the senate, he was appointed Secretary of Transportation by a democratic governor, and thereafter appointed by a democratic governor to head the KTA. The job has traditionally been filed through political patronage. No experience necessary.

If Mike Johnston is not the epitome of a politician, than that animal simply doesn't exist.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 9 months ago

What is your issue with this man? Have you any information leading to the conclusion that simply being a politician makes one a Brownback or Rhioades? If not, then quit acting like Rhoades and throwing around inuendo that this man "might" be as irresponsible as Rhoades. Your "sychophantic" rant is out of character for you and does you no good in the "reasonable" area.

Bob Forer 1 year, 9 months ago

I know Mr. Johnston. Enough said.

And BTW, just because i don't like republicans it doesn't necessarily follow that I am enamored.with democrats.

2xhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

If recollection serves, there's only been three chiefs in the 60-year history of the Turnpike, Mr. Johnston, R.D. Fogo, and L.W. Newcomer. The KTA has been notable for its' lack of politicization and its' superior management. It has been run for the benefit of its' customers, rather than to serve some half-witted ideology. If only the State agencies had been managed so well, we wouldn't be having such terrible financial troubles now.

You should be ashamed of your comment. I suspect that you and Mr. Rhoades will be most remembered for your dearth of such an emotion.

(this comment directed at TheSyncophant [what an appropriate name])

Kathy Getto 1 year, 9 months ago

Disagree sycho. There's a legal avenue to get his good name back, so to speak, hope he uses it.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't believe there is a legal avenue open to Mr. Johnston, Kathy. As I understand it, Chairman Rhoades' statements in Committee are protected by legislative privilege. He is therefore not subject to a slander lawsuit.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 9 months ago

Johnston is a particularly good administrator, and has kept the Turnpike Authority in the black throughout years of service. He has been able to continue the Turnpikes safety, as well as its standing as a model of organization, without Brownback's "help". To denigrate the man without information is despicable. To lie about him should cost Rhoades his job and a lawsuit.

headdoctor 1 year, 9 months ago

What a crock. He knew exactly what he was saying when he made the allegation and that his intent was an attempt to discredit Michael Johnston. Probably didn't think the plan would backfire. With Johnston out of the way Brownback would be free to try and leverage his board appointee, Mark Hutton into the position.

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

"He later said he needed to be more careful about what he said during committee meetings."

Ya think?

kusp8 1 year, 9 months ago

"Brownback has proposed merging the KTA and KDOT, saying that would produce savings of $30 million over two years, although no one from the administration has outlined how those savings would occur." Says it all

2xhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Politics has always been dirty, but geez...

I think the budget falling apart is making the Brownbackians desperate and reckless. Expect more of the same in the next few weeks.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm really tired of these "pseudo apologies", in which people take no responsibility for what they say, and claim to be "misunderstood".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 9 months ago

Extreme narcissism is prerequisite to being a representative of the Grand Ole Plutocracy.

1southernjayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

I understand that you are a liberal so what is it that democrats do when they are caught lying?.

riverdrifter 1 year, 9 months ago

Tell it like it is: Rhoades is a bald-faced liar.

Beth Bird 1 year, 9 months ago

That is one heck of a miscommunication.

bad_dog 1 year, 9 months ago

Where's Strother Martin when you need him?

dabbindan 1 year, 9 months ago

feeling their oats, emboldened by the conservative mandate sort of thing, underling fruitcakeness rises to the surface and blurting commences. self censoring be damned. we're all among friends here.

hopefully the shooting of the feet will continue right up to the next general election.

tolawdjk 1 year, 9 months ago

It all makes sense now.

Since we all know only bovine feces come out of a politician's mouth, and that bovine feces is a large component of agriculture, this would be one of those ag nuisance lawsuits that would be prevented under Brownback's proposal.

I would assume that a politician would view a slander lawsuit as a nuisance.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't believe that Chairman Rhoades is liable for slander for comments he makes in Committee. I am neither a legislator nor an attorney, and I could be wrong.

Or things may have changed since that high school civics class in the mid-70s.

Nikonman 1 year, 9 months ago

Is Johnson the same guy who was in charge of the KTA about 15 years ago when it was discovered the top guy had he own private entrance to his home on the turnpike just north of Wichita? If I remember right, it was an exit to a KTA storage/maintenance yard. He was able to drive through the yard and through another gate to his home. KTA people will never favor merging with KDOT because of the earnings difference. The last I heard or read, top KTA officials make about 50% more than KDOT guys.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 9 months ago

And you have a problem with that....why? The guy wants to be close to his work.
so what? He wants to be available at a moment's notice. So what?

Your comment is the same kind of inuendo slung by Rhoades. What's the point?

Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

webmocker opines: "He is now a bureaucrat, but he was once a politician. If he did not go through the proper channels to regain his good name, he might not have one. :-)

"FROM KTA WEBSITE "Michael L. Johnston joined the KTA at the start of 1995. Prior to this position, he served the state of Kansas as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation from 1991 through 1994. He is a former state senator and served 14 years in the Kansas Legislature."

Very good webmocker! So Micahel L. Johnston is getting PAID all around....like 360°......he's gonna get a PHAT pension from KPERS based on the sick and demented way he elected to "participate" in KPERS:

Legislators have given themselves one heck of a sweetheart deal in how their own KPERS benefits are calculated. 372 days in a year! Leave it to a political hack to figure that one out!

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated:

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

The Senate president and House speaker are at the top of the pay scale, and annualized pay for those posts could be as high as $99,859.74, depending on their enrollment choices.

This guy Morris who is the President of the Kansas Senate has even been quoted as saying he deserves that kind of KPERS benefit because he is so underpaid!!! Man, this is some amusing stuff!!! Aren't legislators supposed to be servants of the people? Isn't the common thinking that people run for office, not to get rich, but to serve? We sure do think stupid real good like in this state: The people who do the day to day work which make Kansas run have their KPERS figured one way.....and the galoots who pose for 3 months a year as "legislators" get to figure their KPERS benefit in a totally different manner.....to the point where they've invented a new calendar: 372 days in a year and they work each and every one of them!! Woo Hoo!!!

http://tinyurl.com/85ndbes

And his KPERS monies amount to diddly squat compared to his corporate pension at KTA. Kansas is a SICKKKKKKKKKKKK place.....worse than Chicago and Illinois in many, many ways. But, we deserve what we get....we keep allowing these thugs to run the place shrug

oldexbeat 1 year, 9 months ago

"Johnston said he met with Rhoades Monday to discuss Rhoades' comment. "I met with him yesterday afternoon at 4:30 and told him in no uncertain terms that whatever he said with respect to an offer I allegedly made to the governor was absolutely false, preposterous and laughable." ...." I think 'whatever he said" covers the 'false, preposterous and laughable."

Yup. Koch GOP Tea Party lies again, again, and again.

Lynn Grant 1 year, 9 months ago

So now the topic is attacking Mike Johnston? The lie was told by Rep. Rhoades in committee. I, too, am really tired of this kind of apology. "I got caught so now I am sorry IF my comment offended anyone, but would do it again in a heartbeat". Yeah Rhoades needs to choose his words more carefully! He is only the chair of the most important committee in the House.

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