KBA chairman decries attacks over funding

Former Kansas governor and current chairman of the Kansas Bioscience Authority John Carlin has warned Kansas government authorities that their continuing investigation into his group’s funding could lead to a major loss of economic development.

The Senate Commerce Committee recently investigated the Kansas Bioscience Authority’s spending, which Carlin said might compromise the federal government’s decision to build the $451 million National Bio and Agro-defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, according to the Kansas City Star.

Carlin said that landing this project is a major accomplishment that could strengthen the state’s economy in the long run. The chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Susan Wagle, a republican from Wichita, has frequently suggested during hearings that the authority may be spending lavishly on employee travel, meals, salaries and bonuses. Senate leaders from both parties have criticized Wagle’s investigation.

During a meeting of the committee on Friday, Carlin told Wagle’s group that while the state had been “brilliant” in creating the authority, “We’re about to screw it up,” according to the Kansas City Star.

The investigation began when the Wichita State University Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research alleged that the authority had not received a five year, $20 million grant the authority had promised them for a research project.

Further investigations revealed that 12 of the 21 authority employees receive salaries of over $100,000, which Wagle has called “exorbitant,” according to the Kansas City Star.