SHAWNEE — The Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce is suing the city it was created to promote after city officials decided to end the nearly 20-year working relationship during a recent meeting.
Attorneys for the chamber filed suit last week, asking a judge to stop Shawnee city commissioners from severing the ties between the two entities in such a hasty manner.
Mike Clover, the chamber's attorney, said the abruptness of the city's actions is the cause of the lawsuit.
“This contract has been in place for 18 years … every city commission for 18 years has gotten along,” Clover said. “Just to terminate that contract without notice, without any demand as to what we're doing wrong … we're trying to stop that.”
Clover said the chamber is engaged in promotional activities that could take months to play out. He said more time to sort out tangled business arrangements is what is expected in these situations.
“We think a reasonable notice to terminate this would be six months … 90 days … whatever the judge feels is appropriate with all the facts and everything else,” he said. “We never did once think that there would be a contract that would be around forever.”
The city's old contract with the chamber has been terminated, and the Tourism Advisory Board has been disbanded, Clover said.
A new entity, called Shawnee Tourism Inc., has been created to perform the duties that have been handled by the chamber since 1994. The new entity has yet to take any official action.
Mayor Linda Peterson, who recently was defeated in the city's municipal elections, said the action commissioners are taking against the chamber is anything but abrupt. She said a number of issues have been simmering, some of them dating back three years.
Peterson said a questionable land deal and lax record keeping are two of the more prominent issues.
“I believe what started out as an effort to correct past oversights, possibly on both sides, turned into what we saw as resistance from the chamber,” the mayor said.