Best Power Pissing Match

Jonathan Kemper versus David Fenley

David Fenley, chairman of the Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin law firm, angered a lot of people in the spring. That was when he announced his company's plan to abandon downtown and use tax dollars to tear down the Park Lane apartments and build new offices on the Plaza. Among those pissed off by this was Jonathan Kemper, CEO of Commerce Bank and all-around Kansas City big shot, who fired off a letter (the rich white guy's equivalent of throwing a punch) criticizing Fenley. Then he told the Kansas City Business Journal that "the city does not need to take from the poor and give to the rich." Fenley replied with his own letter, saying his staff felt more comfortable in the Plaza environment. So Kemper penned another letter, this time calling Fenley's motivation "bigoted." The fracas ended in typical Kansas City fashion, with Kemper backing off and telling the media that he meant no personal insult to Fenley. (Apparently in millionaire lingo, "bigot" is just a figure of speech.) But it was fun while it lasted.

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