Midland Railway defendant in five lawsuits filed in District Court seeking more than $70,000
Five different lawsuits have been filed in the past five months in Douglas County District Court against the Midland Railway Historical Association, seeking to recover more than $70,000 in debt.
Among those taking action against the Baldwin City-based tourist excursion railroad line is the Kansas Department of Revenue, which filed a tax warrant against Midland on Aug. 21 A tax warrant alleges the tourist railroad owes $5,939.98 in retail sales taxes for the periods of September, November and December of 2019.
Zachary Fletcher, Revenue Department public information officer, wrote Friday in an email to the Journal-World that the case has not yet been resolved.
The other lawsuits filed include:
• A July 23 filing by the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society Douglas County, which alleges Midland owes $6,457 in past due lease payments for the Baldwin City railroad depot and adjoining park. In addition, the association believes Midland is liable for damages done to the historic depot. An amount for the damages, however, can’t be determined until the railway vacates the depot, according to the court filing.
• An April 23 filing by Missouri Tie LLC seeking $12,348 for 252 railroad ties the company states it delivered to Midland on Nov. 7, 2019.
• A June 3 filing by the Lawrence branch of United Rentals seeking $16,897.25 the company alleges is owed for light towers and generators that were rented to the railway in November and December 2018. Allen Kinsley, Midland treasurer at that time, is also named as a co-defendant in the action.
• A July 13 filing of notice of foreign judgment by the attorney of Musselman and Hall Contractors LLC of Kansas City, Missouri. The notice informs the court that on May 14, 2020, the Clay County, Mo., Circuit Court awarded Musselman and Hall a default judgment of $33,105.26 plus legal cost and interest in a case against Midland..
The Journal-World sought comment from AJ Stevens, CEO of Midland’s wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, the Baldwin City & Southern Railroad. Stevens replied in an email Saturday that the newspaper’s questions should be referred to Midland’s attorney Tom Hayes. The Journal-World was unable to reach Hayes for comment.
The Baldwin City & Southern’s legal concerns may soon grow. Baldwin City Administrator Glenn Rodden said Friday that the railroad had an end-of-the-day deadline to respond to a city demand it repay the $321,000 it was loaned through a $750,000 Kansas Department of Commerce community development block grant. The city is responsible for administering the loan.
Rodden told the Journal-World earlier this month that the BC & Southern was out of compliance with the December 2019 agreement that made the loan money available because it did not submit required paperwork. Rodden said the Commerce Department instructed the city not to make more of the $750,000 available and to demand immediate repayment of the $321,000 already loaned. A Commerce Department spokesperson has said the department is aware of the situation and that the city was moving ahead with its responsibility to collect the money loaned.
Rodden said Friday the city would take necessary steps, including legal action, if the BC & Southern didn’t reply by Friday’s deadline. He noted the Commerce Department required BC & Southern to put up collateral in the form of railroad cars as a condition of the loan.