DOJ tapped fourth person's phone, along with O'Donnell and Steven

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Update: 2:55 p.m. - The FBI is now looking into a fourth person in connection to a Wichita-area wiretap investigation.

The Wichita Eagle reports Daven Flax also had his phone calls intercepted by federal investigators.

Earlier this week, a Wichita attorney told Eyewitness News that he saw Flax's home being searched by the FBI.

Wichita businessman Brandon Steven, current Sedgwick County commissioner Michael O'Donnell, and Danny Chapman also had their phones tapped.

None of the four have been charged.
Update: 3:40 p.m. - The Department of Justice has wiretapped a third person’s phone in the Wichita area as it works what might be independent investigations or one large investigation.

Tuesday, we told you several people received letters notifying them that their phone calls with then-State Senator Michael O’Donnell and prominent businessman Brandon Steven had been tapped.

Today, we learned a phone registered to Danny Chapman was also tapped between July 24 and August 22, 2015.

A Wichita business received a letter almost exactly the same as the ones others received yesterday and forwarded it to Eyewitness News. The letter lists Chapman’s address as 9700 West Delano St in Wichita.

Earlier today, Wichita attorney Steve Joseph confirmed to Eyewitness News that early in the morning on February 8, he saw the FBI raiding a home at 9706 West 18th Court, a home he says is Chapman’s. Joseph also tells Eyewitness News that Chapman left a pillowcase full of $22,000 cash, Rolex watches jewelry, and keys to safety boxes at his office, Galaxy Venture Capital Fund. The FBI served a search warrant at the office last Wednesday. Joseph says he is not a target of the investigation.

Eyewitness News has had crews at the West 18th Court home three times since last Thursday, and today a woman who was inside, closed the door and refused to comment.

At this time, no charges have been filed in connection with the investigation.

Eyewitness News will continue to follow this developing story. Stay tuned on-air and online for the latest.
Update: 1:10 p.m. - The attorney for Brandon Steven released a brief statement on Wednesday regarding the FBI investigation regarding his client.

“We are cooperating with the investigation. It is our hope to put this matter behind us sooner than later,” said John Rapp of Hinkle Law Firm, LLC.

On Tuesday, Steven confirmed to the Wichita Eagle that he is the target of an FBI investigation.

A local businessman gave Eyewitness News a letter he had received from the Department of Justice stating that his phone conversations with Steven had been wiretapped.

Eyewitness News will continue to follow this developing story. Stay tuned on-air and online for the latest.
Update: 11:50 a.m. - Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell says he's shocked to learn that his phone conversations were tapped by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.

O'Donnell says the Steven family has donated to his campaigns. Eyewitness News learned on Wednesday that Brandon Steven's phone conversations had also been tapped in 2015. At this time, we don't know if the two are related.

O'Donnell released the information Wednesday morning following the county commission's weekly meeting.

O'Donnell says he's pretty shaken by the investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice and the FBI.

O'Donnell says he doesn't know what the nature of the investigation is or why his phone was wiretapped. He says plans to get counsel and wants more information about what's going on.

Eyewitness News will continue to follow this developing story. Stay tuned on-air and online for the latest.
Update: 11:40 a.m. - Eyewitness News has confirmed that several Kansas lawmakers in Topeka received a letter from the Department of Justice notifying them that their phone calls with then State Senator Michael O'Donnell had been tapped.

These are the same letters that Eyewitness News received.

At this time, we don't know which lawmakers received the letters.

Remember, the DOJ says the notices do not mean a person is being charged in court with anything, but it is a requirement by law that the letters be sent out.

We will continue to follow this developing story. Stay tuned on-air and online for the latest.

The Department of Justice intercepted phone calls to the cell phones of prominent Wichita businessman Brandon Steven and Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell in 2015.

The DOJ sent letters dated February 1, informing people they were captured on the wiretaps. Several people including an Eyewitness News journalist received the letters today. However, there is no confirmation the cases are related.

Wichita businessman Brandon Steven, however, confirms to the Wichita Eagle that he is the subject of the FBI inquiry. At this point, neither the FBI nor U.S. Department of Justice has said what the investigation is about or who may be involved. At this time, no charges have been filed in connection with the investigation. Steven has not returned our calls.

Eyewitness News has confirmed this investigation goes back years.

A local businessman gave us the letter he received which says the government tapped Brandon Steven’s phone in 2015 and listened in on a conversation between the two of them.

Steven tells the Wichita Eagle he believes federal investigators are looking into his poker playing and his involvement trying to build a casino in southeast Kansas. Steven is a tournament poker player and also owns multiple car dealerships and businesses in Wichita.

But Steven’s phone was not the only one the Department of Justice was interested in. Eyewitness News received a DOJ letter saying the government was listening in on a phone call we made to then State Senator Michael O’Donnell sometime between June 3 and July 1, 2015.

A portion of the letter reads, “This notice does not mean you are being charged in court with anything. This is simply a notice which the law requires we send to you. It only means that you or someone using a telephone subscribed to you, were intercepted talking with a person using the telephone number listed above.” The letter identifies O’Donnell’s cell phone and is signed by Assistant US Attorney Aaron Smith.

Our newsroom had called O’Donnell in 2015 to ask him about the special legislative session. We did not know the government had a legal wiretap on O’Donnell’s phone. At this time, we do not know why the DOJ would tap O’Donnell’s phone or why he may be involved in this investigation.

The investigation may also extend to the Wichita Police Department. Shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay announced in a video on Facebook that an internal investigation is underway that possibly involves misconduct by members of the department. Ramsay said two police officers have been placed on administrative review pending the outcome of a criminal and internal investigation. Ramsay said the criminal investigation was being conducted by another law enforcement agency but stopped short of clarifying what agency that was.

Federal investigators have been tight-lipped about their investigation. When reached by phone last Thursday, FBI spokesperson Bridget Patton would only say that the agency had a lawful presence in the greater Wichita area.

Monday night, Wichita Mayor Longwell confirmed to Eyewitness News that the FBI was involved in a multi-year investigation in the Wichita area and federal charges could be filed in the next two weeks.

In an early edition of this article, from 4:53 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. we misidentified Brandon Steven in a photo. We apologize for the error.