Developer With Ties To Kansas City Appointed to Position In Trump Administration

Jan 18, 2017

Reed Cornish, the developer behind Kansas City's Power & Light District, pictured here, has been pegged for a position in President-elect Donald Trump's administration.
Credit Ed Schipul / Flickr - CC

 This story was updated at 5:18 PM to include a comment from The Cordish Companies.

Reed Cordish, a vice president with the family-owned Cordish Companies that owns and operates The Kansas City Power & Light District, has been appointed to a position in the Trump administration.

Cordish will serve as an assistant to the president for intra-governmental and technology initiatives, according to several news outlets. Fedscoop, an IT publication, reports that Cordish will be in charge of “high impact task forces,”  including tech innovation and cross-agency initiatives.

Cordish is the son of David Cordish, CEO and chairman of the Cordish Companies, which is based in Baltimore. In addition to The Kansas City Power & Light District, the multi-billion dollar company has developed entertainment and retail districts and casinos around the world.

The Trump and Cordish families have been close for a long time. Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and one of Trump’s closest advisors, has an interest in Cordish properties in Kansas City, including two new downtown apartment buildings.

The relationship between The Cordish Companies and Kansas City is not without controversy. Two patrons of The Power and Light District sued Cordish for race discrimination in 2014. Dante Combs and Adam Williams, who are African American, claimed they were roughed up, denied entry or evicted from the Maker’s Mark Lounge in the Power & Light District in 2010 and 2011.

A federal judge threw the case out, finding there was insufficient evidence to support their claims. Combs and Williams have appealed. The case was argued before the Eighth U.S. Circuit of Appeals in November and a decision is expected within the next few months.

A statement from Cordish emailed to KCUR late in the afternoon said, "The news stories by certain publications on Reed Cordish are misleading, malicious and false.  They consist of unsubstantiated allegations that were taken from a few suits that were found to be entirely baseless...with no finding of wrongdoing."

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement producer and reporter for KCUR. She can be reached @laurazig or lauraz@kcur.org.