Given how few media outlets are providing complete information on our response to the KDOL audit report, we want to share with you our response here.

As detailed in our letter, the Kansas Department of Labor (“KDOL”) abused its statutory authority to conduct an inspection and further failed to conduct an audit within the parameters of the Kansas Amusement Ride Act.  In doing so, it has created a false impression in the community and indeed, nationwide, that Schlitterbahn is operating its Kansas City park in an unsafe manner.  This appears to be nothing more than a malicious effort on the part of the State to stir up unfounded fear and cast doubt on this company in the wake of the tragic accident in 2016.

Some of the highlights of the letter include the following:

  • KDOL found that some of the original manufacturer manuals could not be immediately located. However after raising this issue, at least some of these manuals were located by our team and produced to KDOL auditors who inexplicably refused to review them before leaving the property.
  • KDOL noted that certain training and inspection records could not be produced. When in fact, we handed these records DIRECTLY to KDOL auditors and they chose not to review them.
  • KDOL claimed in the report that our rides and attractions “were in an operational status at [the] time of inspection.” These claims are false.
  • KDOL asserted that “Schlitterbahn representatives did not dispute the audit findings” when orally presented at the conclusion of the audit. In fact, KDOL did not represent anything as “findings,” rather they were couched as auditor field notes. Schlitterbahn representatives did dispute some of the field notes, which KDOL auditors refused to discuss.

The letter points out the following:

  • KDOL ignored the scope of its statutory authority to conduct an audit
  • KDOL ignored that Schlitterbahn had not yet opened to the public
  • KDOL could not lawfully issue a “notice of violation” under KSA 44-1610
  • KDOL must provide a reasonable amount of time to comply

Despite our strong disagreement with some of the issues in the report and KDOL’s audit process, we are addressing carefully each of the issues raised and expect that such issues will be rectified before the individual rides are opened to the public.  While these clerical and administrative issues do not generally impact guest safety, in the interest of ensuring all Schlitterbahn guests that their safety is Schlitterbahn’s highest priority, the park will not open any ride or attraction unless and until the issues raised in the report have been fully addressed.

You can read the entire letter here.

KCWM letter to M James