BASEHOR, Kan. - For months, Call for Action has reported on Brenda Wood, the mastermind behind efforts to buy two downtown buildings.
As a federal investigation continues behind the scenes, this week, the spotlight shines on a key player in one her companies.
Michael Yancey, a former banking vice president and former COO of one of Wood’s companies, this week pleaded guilty for his part in what federal investigators describe as a shady Kansas real estate deal.
Before filing for bankruptcy in 2012, Wood tried to orchestrate a multi-million dollar purchase of two different pieces of downtown real estate; 20 W 9th St. and then the former AMC corporate headquarters. Both deals fell apart, costing investors tens of thousands of dollars.
"I had to go back to work. I've had to take a job, making a lot less money than I was making when I retired," retired investor Bonnie Rooks said.
Wood owns several companies, including PCI, a custodial and building maintenance company, securing contracts with local school districts. One document dated in 2012 and submitted to one school district listed Wood as president and Mike Yancey as the chief operating officer.
Before that job, Yancey was a senior vice president and commercial lender at Farmer's bank.
Yancey pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to make false statements on a loan application.
Wood is not named in the plea deal. But federal prosecutors state Yancey conspired in 2007 with another person, referred to as B.W., to buy a piece of real estate in Basehor, Kansas. It states that B.W. sent Yancey a falsified sales contract, inflating the purchase price to $1.1 million dollars for property worth only $850,000, and that Yancey accepted the contract knowing it was wrong.
Wood has refused repeated requests for an on-camera interview. When reached by phone Thursday, Wood claims she did not know her former associate had pleaded to federal charges.
As part of this plea deal, Yancey will not face additional charges. However, that changes if he breaches the agreement with federal authorities. He's now facing five years in prison.