Employees got to know a bizarre side of their employer Brenda Wood that she hid from the public. They found she could be controlling and prone to angry outbursts, and on a whim, she would withhold some of their paychecks, they told 41 Action News.
Gerald Packel, Wood’s bookkeeper, played a role in Wood’s check-kiting scheme, according to interviews and court records.
He declined to be interviewed for this story, but in a lawsuit deposition, he explained how Wood had him depositing and withdrawing money in a constant stream. He gave information on how money was withdrawn from Lidia’s restaurant accounts and other details of Wood’s financial operations.
The owner of the restaurant would not comment for this story.
For Packel, who worked in Wood’s office, March 6, 2012, would be a strange day that he won’t forget anytime soon.
He arrived at 6:30 a.m. and was there only a short time when Wood called him.
“She told me I needed to get out of the office, that they were coming,” Packel said. “I had no idea who she meant by, “They’re coming.”
She told him to take the computer and some papers and “get out of there as quick as you can.”
She also told Packel to call her as soon as he got out of the office and to go to her Basehor office 15 minutes away and work.
Packel was there less than a half hour when he said Wood called again. “Pack up your things,” she ordered. “Get out of there. They know you’re there.”
Packel said he grabbed his things, jumped in his car and drove to a back road and called Wood. “She told me I couldn’t be around there because they’d find me if I was there, that I should keep on going another three, four miles, and then I called her."
Wood told him to go home and work. From then on Packel worked from home and continued to give Wood cash balances of checking accounts multiple times a day. Sometime afterward, he left that position.