KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) confirms Kansas City, Kansas Police Chief Terry Zeigler is the target of a criminal investigation.
At issue is a lease deal Zeigler has to rent a taxpayer owned home at Wyandotte County Lake Park.
Zeigler sent an email to his entire KCKPD staff Monday telling them KBI is investigating him.
The email first obtained by 41 Action News Monday afternoon, cites questions about if Zeigler “double-dipped” when he took paid time off to work as chief while also charging the UG for labor, materials and gas mileage for work he did on the lake house.
A spokesperson from the KBI said their investigation was prompted by a Feb. 14 request by Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree.
A spokesperson from Dupree's office forwarded all additional comments to the KBI.
In an additional statement, KCKPD says Zeigler will remain on duty during the investigation.
A police spokesperson told 41 Action News despite the investigation, the department "will continue to focus on our daily operations."
The spokeswoman said the issue was "distracting" to police operations.
The 41 Action News Investigators first reported the lease in November 2018.
The report set off a back-and-forth among UG commissioners and Mayor/CEO David Alvey regarding the appropriateness of the deal.
Then last month, additional documents revealed further questions regarding instances where Zeigler took paid time off from his job as chief and then also apparently billed the UG for work on the lake house.
The KCKPD released a statement Monday evening saying it will not be conducting interviews in the investigation and it had nothing further to report.
Chief Zeigler was recently made aware that a criminal investigation regarding the use of his accrued personal time to work on the house located at the Wyandotte County Lake had been initiated. In an effort to be extremely transparent with the members of his Department, he issued an email to the organization informing them of the pending inquiry. Chief Zeigler explained that he was aware that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation in which he is the focus and that the investigation surrounds whether he had “double dipped” when he took time off to work on the house. Chief Zeigler further explained that he felt it was best that the men and women of the KCKPD learned of this investigation from him rather than through the inevitable rumor mill. The KCKPD will not be conducting interviews on this topic as it is not germane to the daily operations of the department. We feel we have devoted ample time and explanation to this issue previously and will continue to remain focused on the mission of the police department. There is nothing further to report at this time.
Zeigler entered into the lake house deal with Wyandotte County Administrator Doug Bach.
Bach entered into the deal with Zeigler without consulting commissioners.
The 41 Action News Investigators first reported in November Zeigler had accumulated enough rent credits to nearly cover his entire two year lease deal and had yet to write a check for rent.
Under terms of the deal, Zeigler also paid no utility costs.
Zeigler didn't sign the lease until August, 2018, nearly eight months after he moved into the home.
A spokesman for the Unified Government could neither confirm nor deny Bach may also be a target of the KBI probe.
KBI so far, has neither confirmed nor denied Bach might be a target.
The news of the investigation came as a relief to Janice Witt, a community activist who expressed concerns about the deal and later filed a theft of housing suit against the UG shortly after our initial story aired.
"Without the media, without [41 Action News Investigator Andy Alcock] taking an interest in us and our plight in Wyandotte County, we would never have seen the headlines we're seeing today," said Witt.
She hopes the investigation will end with the chief of police, county administrator and mayor all out of office.
"I believe that this, the people being empowered, they will see that one person can make a difference if they stand, if they speak up," Witt said.