Open Letter to LDS Church Representative Henry W. Kester
Kester is listed in State Auditor's Report as the President of the Birmingham Drainage District for 2005
Henry W. Kester
LDS Church representative
7601 East 130 Court
Grandview, Mo 64030
Re: LDS Church's Birmingham Drainage District
Dear Mr. Kester:
This letter is in regard to our February 17, 2004 conversation concerning your serving as a member of the Board of
Supervisors of the what the LDS Church thinks of as its very own Birmingham Drainage District. You stated, "I serve at
the pleasure of the LDS Church." One would assume the statement means that you were placed on the Board of
Supervisors to protect the interest and reputation of the LDS Church. One would also assume that your position was to
make sure that the LDS Church's representatives (Property Reserve Inc., and Birmingham Drainage District), acted in
good faith as well as making sure they were good neighbors. One would assume that you also agreed not to file the
financial statement for 1999, 2000, 2001 as required by law.
Public records indicate that neither Property Reserve Inc., nor the LDS Church controlled Birmingham Drainage District
have lived up to the high standards of the LDS Church. As an example, 1999 court records, Kansas City v. James
Bynum and Birmingham Drainage District (BDD), show the LDS Church representative were well aware of the March 28,
1916 court ordered public access levee crossings (2) that run with the lands south of the levee. Yet, in 1990, Mr.
Norbert Kemp for Property Reserve Inc., and Mr. Robert McKinley (attorney for Property Reserve Inc.), and President of
the BDD, signed two contracts with the City of Kansas City attempting to take the court ordered access rights away from
the land owners south of the levee.
First, Mr. McKinley signed a contract (approved by the Board of Supervisors?) with the City effectively closing the levee
crossing at NE 28th street to land owners. It worked in the 1999 court case. Second, the City, Property Reserve Inc.,
and BDD, offered to help the landowners by creating an agricultural access easement contract across the levee on
North Arlington and ending at the levee crossing at NE 28th street. This contract assured the land owners they would
always have agricultural access to their lands. However, Property Reserve Inc., had the right to close the easement 10
days after the contract was signed. After Ray Sissom signed the contract, Property Reserve, Inc., did shut down the
North Arlington end of the easement. The NE 28th street end of the easement was already shut down by contract. The
implication is that the City of Kansas City, Property Reserve Inc., and the LDS Church controlled BDD conspired to trick
the land owners into signing away their property access rights. Do you think this met the ethics or high standards of the
Which brings us to Dan Sissom, also a member of the Board of Supervisors, and son of Ray Sissom, who was tricked
into signing the bogus agricultural access easement contract. The available BDD financial statements indicate the BDD
and Property Reserve Inc. may be paying him off for the trick they played on his dad. How else would you explain the
fact that after Property Reserve Inc., shut down access to the Sissom property, Dan Sissom's compensation from the
BDD jumped from an average of $3,569.93 annually to an average of $22,023.72 annually. Plus, he was managing the
Property Reserve Inc. Farm operations?
It seems that all this happened on your watch. Yet, as you know, state law prohibited you from serving on the Board of
Supervisors. The Birmingham Drainage District even testified to this fact before the state legislature for Bill HB 1085 --
DRAINAGE DISTRICTS. This is particularly unique, since the BDD did not have a Missouri public charter as a drainage
district. Nor, according to a 1924 Missouri Supreme Court opinion in the BDD records, could it get a charter as a
Missouri public corporation charter within the city limits of Kansas City.
Mr. Kester, you should find a letter in the files of the BDD and Property Reserve Inc., from about 1991, in which I pointed
out that the city, BDD and Property Reserve Inc., were trying to trick the landowner into land locking their own property. I
probably used stronger words. Today, Mr. McKinley still insists that when Ray Sissom signed the easement contract,
that landlocked all other property owners. Now, isn't that one hell of a good reason for paying off Ray's son, Dan
It would seem that if you and the other LDS Church representatives had held to the high standards of the LDS Church,
acted in good faith and as good neighbors, I would have been able to sell our property located south of the NE 28th
street levee crossing at a fair profit and the LDS Church would have been able to continue to control the Birmingham
Drainage District with the City's blessings, even though it could not legally be done.
As it is, we still have 55 acres of river frontage that you are blocking us from selling, or developing, using the 1990
bogus easement agreement contract. You (LDS Church representatives) have made it look like there is a conspiracy
between the LDS Church and the City to lower the value of the land. You made me look like an idiot in the 1999 court
action, but you also presented evidence to proved I was right and where to look for the documents proving the court
ordered the two levee crossing currently existing at North Arlington and NE 28th street.
However, I didn't find the final document (1924 Supreme Court judgment for the City) proving you have no right to exist,
until December 2003.
You have put the state legislators in the position of looking like incompetent idiots on the LDS Church payroll by passing
a law on the testimony of and for a corporation that didn't exist under state law. You have made the court look like its on
the LDS Church payroll. You have made the county look like incompetent idiots for collecting tax money for and giving it
to LDS Church representatives operating a drainage district that didn't exist under state law. For these reasons, haven't
you have made the LDS Church look like a bunch of greedy money hungry priests who have no ethical or community
spirit and have no regard for the law or its neighbors?
I find it hard to believe that this is the true spirit of the LDS Church. However, under the current circumstances I have
little choice but to continue the game you started and see how far the state legislators, and state authorities, will go in
supporting this charade.
I have not included my mailing address because I am traveling and won't be back in Kansas City for another couple of
months. I have included my email address and telephone number below if you care to address any of the questions. I
feel it is also appropriate to make sure the LDS Church is aware of the situation.
LDS Church attorney Robert McKinley
Representative Trent Skaggs
CC: LDS Church