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Archive for Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Former Junction City commissioner indicted in development scheme

July 1, 2009

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Indictment against Michael "Mick" Wunder ( .PDF )

A former Junction City commissioner faces charges that he accepted payments and gifts from a Lawrence builder who was seeking insider deals to develop hundreds of homes in connection with an anticipated building boom related to a troop buildup at nearby Fort Riley.

Michael “Mick” Wunder, defeated in his run for re-election in April, is accused of:

• One count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, violate the Hobbs Act and structure financial transactions to evade federal currency reporting requirements.

• One count of structuring financial transactions to evade the Bank Secrecy Act requiring reports on transactions of $10,000 or more.

• Five counts of unlawfully using his position as a Junction City commissioner to obtain money and other properties.

• Three counts of bank fraud.

• One count of perjury for allegedly lying about his role in the scheme when questioned by a grand jury.

All of the charges are connected to a plan connected to David Ray Freeman, a Lawrence builder who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Freeman’s plea agreement included a pledge that he would provide information and testify against others who may have been involved in the plot, such as a former Junction City commissioner who had identified only as “firefighter.”

On Wednesday, Wunder was identified as “firefighter” in an indictment that had been sealed since June 10, two days after Freeman had been charged in U.S. District Court.

Freeman has admitted bragging to associates that he had the commissioner “in his pocket” as Freeman’s combined company — Big D Construction and Big D Development — sought agreements to build homes in Junction City. Big D eventually secured deals that prosecutors say were worth $12 million.

To help land the deals, prosecutors allege — and Freeman has acknowledged — that Wunder accepted a total of $19,000 in payoffs from Freeman.

According to the indictment, Wunder also traveled to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo., where he received — from Freeman — free lodging at the Sheraton on the Plaza, dinner and drinks at an Italian restaurant and limousine service.

Also, according to the indictment, Freeman and his business partners had set aside a “choice” lot in one of their approved subdivisions for Wunder.

The indictment, released Wednesday, includes an excerpt from a transcript detailing Wunder’s testimony to a grand jury. Wunder had been questioned about a $9,000 payment he had received from Freeman.

The questioner mentioned that Wunder had “indicated” the payment was for items he’d already given to Freeman.

“Yes, sir,” Wunder replied.

Question: “And there were four items?”

Wunder: “There were three baseballs, a bat and a picture.”

Prosecutors allege that Wunder received the money in March 2007, in connection with illegal activities.

Comments

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

Gosh, what a cheap buy. Glad he got caught. I recall someone saying a city commissioner didn't have enough clout to be crooked. Hack should resign.

wildman1 5 years, 5 months ago

3 baseballs, 1 bat and a picture, WOW what a bargain ! hey Mick can I get the same deal for $19,000.00 ? hope you get all that's coming to you and then some, they have a orange jump suit with your name on it...... hope you rot in HELL you crooked SOB !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

George_Braziller 5 years, 5 months ago

Pace - Sue Hack can't resign because she isn't a city commissioner anymore.

pace (Anonymous) says… Gosh, what a cheap buy. Glad he got caught. I recall someone saying a city commissioner didn't have enough clout to be crooked. Hack should resign

thetruth2010 5 years, 5 months ago

Dave, please tell us who else is going is going to jail I will not be around a computer for about a week. We know that your real good friends with the guy in the big white house.

headdoctor 5 years, 5 months ago

I find it a little hard to believe that the other partners had no knowledge of the payoffs. I would say the CYA model 2000 shredders have be working over time at various locations trying to clean up their act before the feds can get past the secretary. I would say judging by the dates, it was a little late for the rats to start jumping ship. Freeman may be in a big rush to help himself but I doubt he is going to step on any toes especially if those toes are attached to the feet of the Chicago boys.

wildman1 5 years, 5 months ago

who cares what the D stands for, I wunder what prison wunders going to......as he should !!! along with his crooked wife, let's not lose the focus on this idiot after all he did this to the good people of JUNCTION CITY !!!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

How many more Lawrence builders are involved as several went to Junction City looking to build more cookie cutter communities....

How many more banks? These toxic loan deals did not necesasarily begin on Wall Street..... they had to have originated with local banks across the nation.

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