Jon Stewart, Lathrop Gage Assist Chapman, Kansas School District with Land Gift


As part of a collaborative, inter-disciplinary effort of goodwill toward the tornado-devastated community, former Chapman resident Jon Stewart has led the way for helping rejuvenate the Chapman school system with the purchase of a recently vacated lot that he has donated to Chapman USD No. 473 School District. A June tornado hit the town of Chapman and destroyed buildings as it swept across the expanse, leaving one person dead and many others injured. The twister was half a mile wide, severely damaging over 60 homes and numerous properties across the Chapman area, including all three Chapman schools.

The high school's Construction Technology Class will build a house on the lot at 313 W. 5th Street in Chapman. The proceeds from the sale of the home will raise funds for the school district and scholarships. The School Board formally approved and accepted the donation at its Board meeting on August 11, 2008. The construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks as soon as the students return to school.

This project has uniquely local ties: Jon Stewart is a 1973 Graduate of Chapman High School. Mr. Stewart recently retired as Chairman of Metcalf Bank in Overland Park, Kansas, and wanted to do something to give back to the community. Mr. Stewart said, "Chapman was a wonderful place to grow up and live. The schools are outstanding and I hope this gift encourages other Chapman alumni to find ways to give back to the schools and community."

School District Superintendent Tony Frieze expressed his appreciation for Mr. Stewart's generosity: "This is an exciting gift we have received from a distinguished alumni and good friend of the Chapman community. The money raised from this project will assist with the financial needs of the District and scholarships for our students. The construction project is also very exciting because it uses the talents of Chapman students to help rebuild the community and raises awareness of the strong vocational education that our students receive. The house is expected to be the first to be rebuilt in Chapman that will contain a safe room."

The Sheila Burdett Century 21 Real Estate Agency in Junction City, Kansas has also agreed to assist in the fundraising efforts for the Chapman School District. Ms. Burdett's agency will list the house for sale. In exchange, Ms. Burdett has agreed to donate a portion of the real estate commissions her agency will receive for listing and sale of the property. Additionally, Ray and Tate Wyatt of Wyatt Land Title Services, Inc. in Abilene have donated the professional services of the title company for the acquisition and donation of the property to the School District.

Lathrop Gage is providing the legal assistance in this matter pro bono, with the legal team being led by Mark Ferguson and Brett Bogan (Corporate & General Business), two members of the Overland Park office of the law firm. Mr. Ferguson graduated from Junction City High School and works with educational institutions across the state. Brett Bogan graduated from nearby Abilene High School and practices real estate and corporate law. Lathrop Gage is a regional law firm serving the entire state. In fact, Lathrop Gage, through member Katie Logan (Real Estate - Overland Park), currently serves as City Attorney for the City of Junction City. The firm has strong pro bono programs and has a storied past of assisting clients who could not otherwise afford professional legal services. These projects have ranged from assisting student organizations to indigent individuals, to foster children and now, victims of natural disasters.

About Lathrop Gage:
A leading Midwest full-service law firm, Lathrop Gage L.C. has approximately 300 attorneys in 10 offices nationwide – from Denver, Colo. to New York, New York. In 2007, Chambers USA ranked Lathrop Gage’s corporate, environmental, intellectual property, litigation, real estate and labor and employment teams among the best in the Midwest. For more information, visit