“The Freedom Fight of Gene Bicknell” by Dr. James R. Wining

I was born and grew up in Wichita, Kansas, I was blessed with wonderful parents, a loving sister and family/friends who enriched my life. My father was a civil engineer and a community activist who would on occasion politely and ever so gently teach me life’s lessons. On occasion we would drive by one of the many Pizza Hut’s in Wichita (Where Pizza Hut started). Dad would have words something like this. “This is a small business with good food and good fellowship. However, it does this business in a big way in 100’s of communities across America.”  Gene Bicknell was one of these Pizza Hut leaders who built Pizza Hut.

When Gene Bicknell’s Pizza Hut started in Wichita 1958 it was the start of new opportunities for youth employment and money to buy cars! Today however, in the 21st century the names of Pizza Hut and Gene Bicknell are shrouded in the doom and gloom of governmental legal action. In the the early 2000’s Gene Bicknell moved to Florida. I won’t conjure his motives except to say I personally know Kansas has a winter, no ocean waves, no beach and probably less sun/Vitamin D. As you grow older these conditions become much more important and are definitely more favorable in the south! Oh yes probably less taxes in Florida which most of us 65+ are very interested in!

Now comes “The Rest of the Story.” Kansas says, “Gene Bicknell you did not move to Florida. Moreover, when you sold your life’s work you were a Kansas resident and not a Florida resident.” Here’s “The Killer,” you owe $60+ million in Kansas taxes and interest. Without re-hashing the legal arguments, did Kansas respect the rights and disclosures Gene Bicknell made?  Also, did Kansas recognize his move to Florida before the business sale? Well, now it doesn’t matter because the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Gene Bicknell was a Florida resident at the time in question.

Certainly, millions of retirees can rest easier after the Gene Bicknell victory of personal freedom. Millions of Americans have retired to the beaches from their homes in the northern, colder and higher taxed states! The Gene Bicknell battle is both a battle of money and personal freedom. His choices are his freedoms. America treads on thin ice today by mandating when and how to dress and fellowship with others, when and how to determine life, when and how to speak, when and how to worship, when and how to protect yourself and when and how to enjoy life.

This is a country that has a Constitution and a Bill of Rights and does not require papers to travel between cities, The American fundamental right is FREEDOM and this decision concerning where a person calls his/her home is their right regardless of weather or taxes! 

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