• Last modified 228 days ago (Dec. 9, 2023)



Colorado agents appear to take over for KBI

Both agencies mum on latest twist in investigation

Staff writer

Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents were in Marion from Tuesday through Friday asking questions related to Aug. 11 raids on Marion County Record, the home of its owners, and the home of Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel.

The CBI agent in charge, John Zamora, said none of the people being interviewed were targets of the investigation, which he said focused not on allegations of identity theft but on procedures used in obtaining warrants for the raid.

On Tuesday, agents first went to the home was the home of Ryan Newell, whose estranged wife, Kari Newell, was seeking a caterer’s liquor license in August when she was tipped off Aug. 7 by now-resigned police chief Gideon Cody that her driver’s license record had been sent to the Record and Herbel.

Pam Maag, who supplied material to the Record and to Herbel, said she was interviewed by CBI for 1½ hours on Thursday morning. Herbel was interviewed for an hour Thursday afternoon. Kari Newell was, as well.

Friday afternoon, Record reporter Phyllis Zorn, former reporter Deb Gruver, and Record editor Eric Meyer were scheduled to be interviewed.

Back on Aug. 7, according to Kari Newell, Cody initially told her a Record reporter had taken a letter from Kansas Department of Revenue out of her mailbox.

She went to a city council meeting that night and complained about her driving record being exposed.

Four days later, Cody led a raid on the newspaper and the two homes.

CBI chief of staff Susan Medina declined to provide any information on CBI agents being in Marion or on what the agents were seeking to find. Medina suggested asking questions of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation instead.

“I can’t provide any comment on that,” Medina told the Record. “I apologize for that and I apologize for the redirection.”

Melissa Underwood, communications director for KBI, also would not comment.

“Unfortunately, I can’t share additional information until the criminal case concludes and is reviewed by the prosecutor,” she said.

Ryan Newell said CBI agents were at his home only briefly Tuesday morning.

He thought CBI agents were seeking to confirm a report from KBI agent Todd Leeds. Leeds was in contact with Cody before the raids. In August, Leeds also briefly interviewed Maag.

Ryan Newell said he understood that Leeds had sent a report to the Johnson County district attorney, who presumably has been named a special prosecutor in the case. This could not be confirmed, however. Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe’s office did not respond to a message asking whether the report had been sent there.

Ryan Newell, who gave Maag the screenshot she forwarded to Herbel and the Record, said CBI agents gave him about five minutes notice before they came to his house.

He said agents told him they would talk to others, but he did not know who the others were.

In some earlier editions, it incorrectly was reported that CBI had told Newell the case was being referred to Johnson County.

Last modified Dec. 9, 2023