Brooks Kellogg, 73, accused of trying to hire hit man to kill opponent in real estate lawsuit
On the State of Kansas's website, 73-year-old Brooks Kellogg is celebrated as a success story for building an entertainment center in Hays. But there's a good chance this salute won't be long for the Internet. That's because the FBI arrested him earlier this week at Denver International Airport on a charge that he tried to hire an assassin to kill a man who'd already won millions in one lawsuit against him, with another about to get underway.
The juicy details can be found in the Brooks Kellogg criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. According to the documents, Kellogg, who split his time between Steamboat Springs, Hays and Chicago, was fingered by Barbara Jean Blackmore of Clifton. She self-identifies as Kellogg's mistress, but the narrative reveals that she proved instrumental in his arrest.
Kellogg and Richard Friedman co-own Chadwick Real Estate Group, a company targeted in lawsuits by Florida's Stephen Bunyard. The first suit resulted in a $2.5 million judgment against Chadwick and its principals, with a second one pending for $500,000 -- and on October 20, Friedman was due in court in Steamboat Springs for what's described in the complaint as a "civil, punitive, contempt of court hearing." But Kellogg was allegedly hoping Bunyard wouldn't be around for that session.
Several months ago, the complaint states, Kellogg approached Blackmore with the suggestion that Rick Strong, her husband since July, burn down a house Kellogg had given her in order to make a quick insurance score. When Strong was told of the situation, he reportedly told Kellogg.
First, in September, Kellogg asked Blackmore to have Bunyard "'warned' and/or hurt, as in put in the hospital," the document alleges -- with Strong doing the warning or hurting. She then posed as Strong in an e-mail she sent to Kellogg. It reads in part: "I do not like wasting my time. I would like to get that pic. All I have gotten from you describes half on this shithole..."
In the coming weeks, the complaint says the planned retaliation against Bunyard escalated, with Blackmore reporting about witnessing an October 1 "conversation between Brooks Kellogg and Richard Friedman about having Steven Bunyard killed." By October 5, in a phone chat monitored by a pair of special agents, Kellogg agreed to talk to the contract killer directly -- which is apparently what he thought he'd be doing on October 19, when he came face to face with an undercover FBI agent posing as an assassin.
The complaint says that after meeting and introducing themselves at DIA, Kellogg paid the agent $2,000 in cash and confirmed that he wanted Bunyard killed. The agent then asked if Kellogg had any other jobs for him. Kellogg reportedly responded, "Yeah, I've got some other things in mind."
Doubt those other things included being charged with using interstate commerce facilities and mails in the commission of a murder-for-hire plot was part of the plan.
Page down to read the criminal complaint, complete with e-mails and instant message strings, plus a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
ILLINOIS MAN ARRESTED AT DIA IN MURDER FOR HIRE CASE
DENVER -- A Chicago, Illinois man was arrested Tuesday at Denver International Airport (DIA) in connection with a murder for hire scheme, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis announced. The man, Brooks Kellogg, age 73, is being held without bond pending a detention hearing scheduled for October 25, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. Kellogg first appeared in federal court in Denver yesterday, where he was advised of the charge pending against him and the penalties associated with that charge.
According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, on Tuesday, after arriving at DIA, Kellogg met at the airport with an FBI agent acting in an undercover capacity. Kellogg paid the undercover agent $2,000 in cash to murder a Florida man with whom he was involved in a real estate transaction. The murder target had sued Kellogg, obtaining a multi-million judgment.
Kellogg is charged with one count of use of interstate commerce facilities and mails in the commission of murder-for-hire. If convicted, he faces not more than 10 years imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the Denver Police Department assisting with the arrest.
Kellogg is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wyatt Angelo and David Conner.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a felony violation of federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
The charges contained in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "The most memorable mug shots of 2010 -- the next 25: A photo gallery."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.