Wichita FBI investigation raises more questions than answers

Indictments could range from illegal gambling to bribery

  • Steven brothers’ campaign donations to Republican officials

  • Congressional nominee’s Facebook account mysteriously deactivated

  • Potential human trafficking charges

The United States Justice Department was recently required by law to inform a number of Wichita-area residents that their telephone calls were intercepted as part of an investigation that appears to revolve around Wichita businessmen Brandon Steven, owner of the Eddy’s car lot enterprise and part owner of Genesis Health Club, and his brother, Rodney Steven II. Former State Senator and current Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell II was also named in the investigation.

Thus far, none of the men whose phones were tapped by the federal government have been indicted and the feds are being extremely tight-lipped about the purpose of the investigation, although Steven has confirmed that the investigation involves poker and his own unsuccessful attempts to open a casino in the state of Kansas.

Steven is well-known for his involvement in high stakes poker tournaments, and is widely rumored to be involved with a number of backroom casinos in the Wichita area.

Steven, and his brother Rodney, have donated large sums of money, predominantly to Republican candidates.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has received at least $34,000 from Rodney Steven II and his wife Juliette, who is also part owner of Genesis Health Clubs with Brandon. Brandon and his wife Karen have given Governor Brownback at least $18,000. Brownback received another $2,000 from Genesis Health Clubs.

Other Kansas Republicans included the Kansas Treasurer and Attorney General. Rodney Steven II has contributed at least $6,000 to State Treasurer Ron Estes, who is currently running to replace former Congressman Mike Pompeo in a special election this April. Pompeo was tapped by Donald Trump to head up the CIA. Shortly after the announcement of the investigation, Estes’ Facebook account mysteriously disappeared for over a week, likely an attempt to purge images taken with the Steven family and former state senator Michael O’Donnell. Through his business, Eddy’s Toyota, Brandon Steven has donated at least $10,000 to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

According to President Donald Trump, who has admittedly donated large sums of money to political candidates, those candidates always return the favors. So, it seems fair enough to ask what the Steven brothers have received in return for their contributions. Quid pro quo? It is hard to say, but raises suspicions about the Steven’s push to open a casino in the state of Kansas and a 2013 bill in the Kansas legislature that provided property tax giveaways for Genesis Health Clubs. According to State Senator Anthony Hensley, it was “the best bill money can buy.”

According to sources close to the investigation, the backroom casinos that may be involved are also known to be frequented by male customers who are escorted by what are described as “underage Eastern European girls”, girls who are likely victims of human traffickers.

None of the people mentioned in this article have been accused of, indicted for, nor charged with human trafficking, gambling, bribery, nor with any other criminal offense related to the investigation.

 

 

 

 

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