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Wal-Mart move into Kansas town draws controversy

FAIRWAY, Kan. (AP) -- A former city official in a Kansas City suburb apologized after suggesting that a new Wal-Mart would bring "a different class" of people who might trash the city and drive down property values.

Former Fairway City Councilman John Ridenour says he didn't mean to offend anyone with his comments in a letter to neighbors warning them of the possible negative consequences of the Wal-Mart store. He says Wal-Mart customers who might want to move into Fairway would not care about maintaining their properties.

Some residents who attended a ward council meeting Tuesday night said they were offended by Ridenour's warning, and some suggested his comments were directed toward Mexican-Americans.

Fairway Mayor Jerry Wiley said at the meeting that he wanted everyone to know that Ridenour didn't speak for the city.