Crime

Facing murder charge and lawsuit, millionaire’s assets held by KC police commissioner

David Jungerman, suspect in Brookside attorney killing, appears in court

David Jungerman, charged in the killing of Kansas City attorney Tom Pickert outside his Brookside home, appeared Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Jackson County Circuit Court.
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David Jungerman, charged in the killing of Kansas City attorney Tom Pickert outside his Brookside home, appeared Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Lawyers for an 80-year-old millionaire accused in the shooting death of an attorney are opposing a judge’s order putting the suspect’s assets under the control of a Kansas City police commissioner.

David G. Jungerman is charged with murder in the Oct. 25 killing of attorney Tom Pickert in Brookside. He’s also facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

As part of the lawsuit, Jungerman’s assets have been placed in a receivership controlled by Leland Shurin, an attorney who is also vice president of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. That’s the governing body of the Kansas City Police Department — the same agency that investigated Jungerman in the murder case.

Nicole Forsythe, an attorney representing Jungerman in the civil matter, said the appointment of Shurin represents a conflict of interest because of Shurin’s role with the police department.

“This is about as un-American as you can get,” Forsythe said.

Shurin, who was appointed to the police board in 2015, said there is no conflict of interest.

“I have no role whatsoever in charging or investigating that guy (David Jungerman) in any way,” Shurin said. “I am not as a receiver representing, working for or working with the Kansas City, Mo. Police Department. I am doing a job as a lawyer. I have no training to do any sort of peace officer work.”

Here's a timeline of David Jungerman's life from a successful businessman to alleged murderer.

Last fall, Pickert was found shot to death on the front porch of his home in the 200 block of West 66th Terrace. The shooting happened a day after Jungerman was served with court papers from a $5.75 million lawsuit Pickert had won against him.

Jungerman is facing trial on a charge of first-degree murder. At the same time, Pickert’s widow and family have filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Jungerman.

As part of that lawsuit, a Jackson County judge in August appointed Shurin as an attorney to oversee Jungerman’s assets — which total $33 million, according to court documents.

That includes his companies and properties and assets owned by his daughter, Angelia Buesing.

As the court-appointed receiver, Shurin has authority to collect assets, file lawsuits or settle claims filed against the individual or business.

At the same time, Shurin as a Board of Police commissioner is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Police Department, including submitting annual budget requests to the Kansas City Council. Commissioners are also involved in personnel matters.

The police department Shurin oversees has investigated Jungerman more than once, not only in the Pickert killing but in another shooting in March.

Shurin has sought the court’s approval to visit property owned by Jungerman and his daughter.

Forsythe said Shurin’s appointment is unconstitutional.

“In this case, Leland Shurin’s conflict of interest in apparent on its face. He is active in the same police department that is actively investigating David Jungerman on murder charges,” Forsythe wrote. “It is clear that he appointment of Leland Shurin was an attempt to end-around the warrant requirements imposed on the KCPD.”

The lawsuit Pickert won against Jungerman concerned a homeless man Jungerman had shot and injured at his warehouse in Kansas City’s Northeast neighborhood.

While facing the $5.75 million civil judgment, Jungerman allegedly made a series of bank transfers and withdrawals totaling about $10 million.

Some of the money he deposited into his daughter’s bank account. Other funds he withdrew in the form of cashier’s checks. And he transferred his Raytown home and other property to his daughter.

The lawsuit alleged that Jungerman had amassed substantial wealth in part through his vintage baby furniture company, Baby Tenda.

The civil lawsuit accuses Jungerman of battery, negligence and fraud.

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