KCBS Responds to KCUR Article

The Kansas City Barbeque Society is disappointed to learn that a local publication recently published an article that has given a group of disgruntled former officers, directors and vendors a media platform to spread misinformation. Packages with these untrue statements and confidential matters were mailed to various sources on behalf of “anonymous” parties. These packages were falsely made to look like they were sent from the KCBS headquarters, though staff confirm they were not sent from the office.

Missing from the article is any mention of the blatant ulterior motives of these individuals, including the development of an Executive Committee of officers during their tenure on the Board who created contracts and special concessions for one another; including one of whom recently filed a lawsuit against KCBS as a result of actions it took to protect its rights, assets and tax-exempt status. KCBS and its board of directors fully stand by and are committed to the best-practices changes currently underway and will no longer tolerate its fiduciaries seeking to advantage themselves to the detriment of the organization and its mission.

While we seek to correct the record with the journalists behind the article, we would like to immediately set the record straight on several untrue statements in the article that may leave the reader with false impressions.

First, Kansas City Barbeque Society co-founder, Carolyn Wells, is in no way stepping away from the organization. In 2018, the Board of Directors, led by President Randall Bowman and the officers named within the article, developed a strategy for Carolyn to transition the daily business leadership and move into a role as a long-term ambassador, historian special programs leader. An executive role was created to take on the daily operations of the business as part of a leadership transition strategy.

Second, the board is aware of KCBS director’s David Qualls’s personal civil matter and hopes resolution comes for what Qualls believes to be a misguided attempt to use the courts to solve a private business dispute. In the meantime, the board fully supports David and appreciates his tireless efforts in furthering the mission of KCBS.

Third, selling the headquarters building is simply the right and prudent business decision which was made two years ago following an unsolicited offer, and prior to any of the current challenges unfolding with former board members and vendors. The KCBS membership voted in December 2019 to approve the sale of the building.
In August of last year, new CEO, Emily Detwiler, was hired based on her experience building brands within the food and BBQ space to help turnaround KCBS and build a strong future. During that time, KCBS has been engaged in a best-practices process that has included a top-to-bottom review and audit of the organization’s operations, including its contracts and finances.

To date, the organization has found ample opportunities for improvements to arrangements approved and put in place by the very sources sharing misleading and untrue claims in the article. Many of these arrangements involved problematic conflicts of interest and above-market compensation which could place the tax-exempt status of the organization at risk. Moreover, vendor compensation arrangements were based on gross revenue or after recoupment of the contractor’s expenses, with no incentive to keep expenses within budgeted amounts and to generate net revenue for KCBS.

We are confident that these changes will have a tremendous, positive impact on the organization and will be well-received by all except those who are pursuing personal interests and who seek to undermine these efforts through unprofessional means. We are anxious to share with you all the positive efforts the Kansas City Barbeque Society has been making to put the organization back on solid footing following the removal of these parties seeking personal gain at the expense of KCBS and its mission, and to build for the future. We’ve seen a solid growth in membership, with active membership growing by 1,000 members since October 2019.
Should any member of the public, KCBS, or the media have questions or concerns at any time
regarding our organization, our doors are always open.