Kansas City FBI agents have scrutinized allegations that an online relationship led to Councilman Michael Brooks being blackmailed into getting city tax dollars for a community event that never occurred.
KCTV5 has learned that the FBI has investigated the situation, and the case remains open. The FBI is expected to step up its review, as Brooks acknowledged overnight a blackmail attempt, but maintains the FBI investigation has nothing to do with his handling of the controversial event. Brooks said to say otherwise was just "lies."
Brooks is a married father of four and a Baptist minister.
He told reporters he went to the FBI to report a blackmail attempt by the woman he had a salacious online relationship with.
He said he has spoken to FBI agents about her attempt to blackmail him, and could not comment in detail because it's an open case. He said the woman he was involved with tried to extort $60,000 from him. He said they both exchanged lurid pictures.
"The involvement with the lady was a mistake. I've apologized to my family. I've apologized to my church. I've apologized to the council people, and I'll apologize to the public now on camera," he said.
In a letter he released Wednesday night, Brooks admitted to his council colleagues that he had an inappropriate online relationship with a woman and he apologized for it.
But Brooks insisted that relationship and her blackmail effort had nothing to do with the city funding issued last fall to bring boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Kansas City to speak to at-risk youth. That event fell apart, and Mayweather never came and a substitute speaker was not found.
"I want to apologize for the horrible lack of judgement concerning my involvement with this lady. It was a terrible mistake and totally out of line," the Baptist minister wrote.
Allegations involving an inappropriate sexting relationship have swirled around Brooks for a year. Brooks acknowledged that there was an attempt to blackmail him over his relationship, but maintains that effort had nothing to do with his handling of the Mayweather event.
"As I have stated before, there is absolutely no connection between her blackmail attempt, and the Mayweather event," Brooks declared.
The Kansas City Police Department investigated the allegations, and forwarded the case file to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. Earlier this summer, Baker determined she would not pursue any criminal charges and closed the case.
Thursday morning, KCTV5 asked Mike Mansur, spokesman for Baker, whether the case remains closed. He said the office would have no comment Thursday, but suggested "check back Friday."
Brooks urged City Manager Troy Schulte to issue a city check for $15,000 for what he called "seed money" to bring Mayweather to Kansas City.
Brooks said he asked Schulte for the funding, which went to youth group leader Ossco Bolton of the group P.O.S.S.E. In June, Brooks flatly said he did not do anything to "twist" Schulte's arm and that this type of request was routine at City Hall.
He said he made clear to Schulte that if he couldn't find the money that he understood, but he said they both agreed it was a good event.
But Schulte was unaware that Mayweather had battered a woman, which the boxer later admitted to. Once that came to light, the event fell apart.
Bolton traveled to Las Vegas on taxpayer expense in an attempt to line up Mayweather. Bolton spent thousands of dollars on travel, entertainment, security and other expenses related to the event. But the Kansas City Police Department found he also spent some of the money on personal expenses, including clothing, movies and fast food.
Bolton never got anyone to replace Mayweather and the event was never held. The city has been unsuccessful in its efforts to get the $15,000 returned.
Brooks has said that the $15,000 was just a start to get someone of Mayweather's caliber to come to Kansas City.
Ron Hunt, who worked with Bolton in seeking the money, was out of his regular job as of Thursday.
Hunt had worked for the past 9 months as an outreach specialist for the Full Employment Council. Clyde McQueen, president and CEO for the council, said he could not say whether Hunt was no longer with the FEC because of the Brooks controversy, but did confirm Hunt's employment ended effective Thursday.
Brooks spoke to reporters as the City Council met Thursday. Brooks is a pastor at Zion Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
"I just want to take this opportunity to offer my apology jeopardizing your trust, and for disrespecting my position," Brooks said in his letter to his council colleagues. "This is now a private matter between my wife, my family and the church, and we will handle it accordingly. Asking for your prayers."
Bolton has maintained that nothing inappropriate occurred in him trying to get funds for the Mayweather event. Both Bolton and Brooks have made positive remarks about each other.
Bolton said last year that he tried to reschedule the event or get a substitute leader such as Mayweather's father to head up the event in early 2013.
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