Steamboat Springs The Brooks Kellogg known in Steamboat Springs isn’t one who would try to put a hit out on a business partner, an acquaintance said.
Jane Denning, president of the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, said Kellogg was her sponsor to get into the organization eight years ago, and he had been a member since 1999. Kellogg would attend meetings whenever he was in Steamboat — usually about six months spread throughout the year — and always was willing to help with Rotary events, Denning said.
“If you ever needed anything, he was always there,” she said. “He’s a go-to guy, and he was always there for any project we had; he would help out.”
FBI agents arrested Kellogg, 73, on Tuesday at Denver International Airport on allegations that he was trying to hire a man to kill Stephen Bunyard, a former business partner who had twice sued him. Bunyard won about $2.5 million in a settlement from the first lawsuit, filed in 2004. The second case, filed this year, is in court-ordered arbitration.
Kellogg is the managing member of Chadwick Real Estate Group in Steamboat. Larry Pozner, of Reilly Pozner LLP in Denver, is representing Kellogg in the criminal case.
Pozner noted Kellogg’s contributions to the community, saying his client’s “background is that he’s a successful businessman, a gentleman, a philanthropist. He gives a lot of his time and money to charity. This allegation does not fit anything that people know about Mr. Kellogg.”
Kellogg owns a home overlooking Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club in Steamboat Springs.
In a detailed arrest affidavit, federal agents laid out how Kellogg allegedly used an e-mail address that resembles his wife’s name, instant messages and phone calls to arrange a hit through a Clifton woman. The woman said she was Kellogg’s mistress, according to the affidavit, and the document states that the woman named her husband as the person who could kill Bunyard.
In one instant message conversation, the woman, allegedly posing as the contracted killer, asked a person said to be Kellogg, under the screen name gvkell, “so you want him dead.”
The gvkell screen name replied, “if that is necessary yes.”
He later wrote, “well our thought was to give him a warning but if thats not safe for you to do then the bullet is fine” (spelling and grammar errors from the conversation were not changed in the affidavit).
Finally, the affidavit states that Kellogg e-mailed contact information for Bunyard’s business in Destin, Fla., to the would-be killer.
When the FBI stepped in, agents arranged a meeting between Kellogg and the “killer,” actually an undercover agent.
Kellogg reportedly was visiting Steamboat for a court hearing related to the lawsuit Bunyard filed in 2004, FBI Denver spokesman Dave Joly said Friday.
When Kellogg arrived at the airport, the FBI agent told Kellogg to go to a meeting place and then showed him a picture of Bunyard, the affidavit states.
“That’s the guy,” Kellogg reportedly replied.
The FBI agent asked Kellogg, “You want him killed?” and Kellogg reportedly said, “Yeah.”
When the agent later asked if Kellogg had other jobs for him, he said he had “some other things in mind,” the affidavit states.
“At no point in the conversation did Brooks Kellogg make any statement that he wanted any other, less serious, action taken against Stephen Bunyard,” the affidavit states.
In the affidavit, the FBI stated that although the woman has a lengthy criminal history in two states and “has provided misleading information and inaccurate information in a number of respects,” some events corroborated her allegations.
“The complaint is fairly unusual,” Pozner said Friday. “It’s very rare in my experience when the government admits in their first summary that their star witness has significant credibility problems.”
He also said he was just beginning to look into the case.
“We have not been able to delve into the case because the prosecution has turned over no documents, no police report, no evidence of any kind,” Pozner said. “We’re beginning our own independent investigation into some aspects of the case, but right now, we’re on the very beginning.”
FBI done in Steamboat
Joly said he couldn’t comment much on the arrest but said he doesn’t expect the FBI to come to Steamboat for any further investigations. He said he also couldn’t comment on any other charges or arrests related to the case. He said the case had been turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner said Kellogg remains in custody in Denver and will have a detention and preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Monday. From there, prosecutors have 30 days to indict him by grand jury to move the case forward.