Brenda Wood, a business owner from Leavenworth, pleaded guilty in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., on Wednesday to one count of theft from an employee benefit program.
Wood, who owned building cleaning service company Professional Cleaning & Innovative Building Services and a construction and property management firm called CDM, admitted to taking employee contributions to a 401(k) program for her personal use. Employees later learned that their retirement accounts hadn’t been funded.
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas in 2014 charged Wood with several counts of employee benefit theft, bank fraud and identity theft.
Wood’s plea on Wednesday resolves the employee benefit theft charges; she awaits trial on Dec. 5 on the other counts against her.
Wood made headlines in 2010 for her part in a failed attempt to purchase the iconic New York Life building in downtown Kansas City. It was that year when Kansas City Power & Light wanted to sell the building at 20 W. Ninth St. where Aquila, the former utility, once had its headquarters.
Wood approached KCP&L about buying the building and later accused the utility company of backing out of a purchase contract. KCP&L responded that Wood failed to meet deadlines to make multi-million dollar deposits with a title company to close on the purchase.
KCP&L eventually sold the building to the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.