LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) Former TV chef Juan-Carlos Cruz, suspected of recruiting homeless men to try to murder his wife, claims he had a backup plan, too, according to a celebrity gossip site.
Text messages, which TMZ says it obtained, allegedly show the former Food Network star and three homeless men discussing a bizarre payment plan cooked up by Cruz. He would supposedly rip up $100 bills - and give the men half of each bill when they bought into the plot -- and the other half of the bills when the deed was done.
According to TMZ, when the homeless men alluded to turning the deal down, Cruz texted back, "have 2nd party ready 2 take over if u dont want it..."
Rather than take the alleged "half bill" offer, Santa Monica police say the homeless men told the city's homeless liaison, who then tipped off the police.
TMZ says it spoke with the homeless men who were allegedly sought out to kill Cruz's wife, Jennifer Campbell.
The 48-year-old Cruz was arrested Thursday May 13, and booked on suspicion of solicitation to commit murder. He was being held on $5 million bail.
Police say they notified the intended target, but they have not released the person's identity.
Cruz, once a pastry chef with LA's Hotel Bel Air, gained fame promoting lowfat cooking after he slimmed down himself, and authored "The Juan-Carlos Cruz Calorie Countdown Cookbook."MORE ON CRIMESIDER