Former Junction City Mayor Convicted Of Taking Bribes

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

Topeka (WIBW) – A federal jury Friday convicted former Junction City Commissioner and Mayor Michael "Mick" Wunder of taking bribes from a developer who received city contracts to construct new housing developments.

The trial for the 52-year old began Monday in Topeka.

Jurors found Wunder guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, violate the Hobbs Act and structure financial transactions to evade federal currency reporting requirements; four counts of unlawfully using his position as a Junction City Commissioner to obtain money and other properties; three counts of bank fraud; and one count of perjury.

The jury returned not guilty verdicts on one count of structuring financial transactions to evade the Bank Secrecy Act requiring reports on transactions of $10,000 or more, and one count of unlawfully using his position as a Junction City Commissioner to obtain money and other properties.

Prosecutors say that, in 2004, Wunder became friends with Lawrence developer David Ray Freeman, a co-defendant in the case.

Freeman was considering investing in land for a new Junction City housing subdivious. At the time, the area was looking to expand its housing markets amid reports of more soldiers being assigned to Fort Riley.

Prosecutors say Wunder told Freeman that he could get the votes for Freeman's company to get the development deal in exchange for $10,000. The development contracts were worth more than $12 million to Freeman’s company, Big D. Under the contract, the city would purchase the infrastructure and Big D would have the exclusive right to sell the lots.

Wunder testified that he believed the payments were assistance from a friend to pay his wife's medical expenses. But prosecutors say Freeman bragged to his partners that he had a Junction City Commissioner in his pocket and he could get anything approved by the commission.

Wunder is set for sentencing Jan. 10, 2010. He faces the following penalties:
– Conspiracy: A maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million.
– Unlawfully using his official position to obtain money and other properties: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
– Bank fraud: A maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million on each count.
– Perjury: A maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.

Freeman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. He is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 16, 2009.


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