Politics & Government

Richard Ranzau accuses Michael O’Donnell of trying to ‘influence peddle’ on grant

'I'll lose an election before I lose my soul,' Ranzau says in new slam of O'Donnell

Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau while discussing a grant to a charity medical program. Ranzau has accused fellow Commissioner Michael O'Donnell of "influence peddling" in connection to the grant.
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Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau while discussing a grant to a charity medical program. Ranzau has accused fellow Commissioner Michael O'Donnell of "influence peddling" in connection to the grant.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau kept up his criticism against Commissioner Michael O’Donnell on Wednesday, accusing him of attempting to “influence peddle” in connection with a grant to a charity medical program.

Ranzau said the commission had originally budgeted $175,000 for Project Access. But on Tuesday, when it came time to make the grant, it was up to $200,000, the same amount that the city of Wichita is contributing.

“This was suggested by Commissioner O’Donnell … because he wanted to make the mayor happy and spread goodwill with the city of Wichita, so I asked him about it and he said ‘Yes, I want to have good relationships, and this is the way to do it.”

Project Access coordinates donated medical care for economically disadvantaged Wichita residents, and Ranzau said he supports the program, but couldn’t support the increase in funding.

“Getting there this way so a commissioner can basically influence peddle is wrong,” he said. “It’s not appropriate.”

As has been his habit, O’Donnell didn’t address the criticism from the bench.

Previously, he has questioned Ranzau’s mental state and said he’s attacking him because he’s afraid of losing his seat in the next election.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas

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