Former Pittsburg business owner voices frustration over legal battle with state of Kansas

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PITTSBURG, Ks. — A longtime Pittsburg business man is speaking out about a multi-million dollar legal battle with the state. His reaction to the latest ruling and what he says should happen next.

Gene Bicknell, Former KS Businessman, said, “I try to be fair and if I was wrong. I would admit it, but I’m not wrong in this case.”

Former Pittsburg businessman Gene Bicknell is fed up with the state of Kansas. His ongoing legal contest with the state Department of Revenue continues, with an appellate court overturning a recent judgment in his favor.

“They want to move for another trial in Shawnee County.”

At issue is the 14 year controversy over the sale of his company NPC International, ownership of a large number of restaurants including Pizza Hut locations.

Bicknell says he had been a resident of Florida for three years when he sold in 2006. But the Kansas Department of Revenue disagreed, saying he must pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes.

Bicknell eventually did pay $48 million, but later filed a lawsuit disputing the legitimacy of the bill. He calls the process quote “extortion” and parts of the proceedings a quote “kangaroo court.”

“Stupid questions, things that were not pertinent. They even asked, list your and Rita’s activities total – and that’s kind of personal. And then they would ask me about my cat. They made the cat Checkers famous; it was in all the press. There’s no logic to this – this was strictly a grab for money.”

Bicknell says that he will continue pursuing the case. But he adds he doesn’t know if his health, including a recent bout with covid, will hold out long enough to see a resolution. We contacted the Kansas Department of Revenue, which said they will continue pursuing the court case, but had no further comment.

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