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Archive for Saturday, August 12, 2006

Police arrest former Manhattan parks superintendent for theft

Wilkinson also public address announcer for K-State

August 12, 2006

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— Ivan D. Wilkinson, former superintendent of the Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department and public address announcer for Kansas State University athletics, has been arrested on theft and gambling charges, police said Friday.

Wilkinson, 47, was arrested without incident Thursday and charged with four counts stemming from an investigation into theft from the Recreation Department. Wilkinson was charged with one felony count of commercial gambling, one felony count of theft and two misdemeanor counts of theft, said police Capt. Gary Grubbs.

Wilkinson was released on $5,000 bond, and the investigation was referred to the Riley County Attorney's Office, which did not immediately return calls for comment Friday.

In a prepared statement, Garry Bowman, spokesman for the Kansas State Athletic Department, said Wilkinson would be taking time off from his duties with the university during the investigation into the thefts from the recreation department.

The university and Wilkinson "have agreed that it is in their best interest for Wilkinson to take the time necessary to focus on his pending legal issues," Bowman said.

He said when the legal issues are resolved, "Kansas State will determine the future as it relates to the role of the public address announcer."

Bowman said the department would not make an announcement regarding Wilkinson's replacement until the start of the football season.

Law enforcement began investigating the Recreation Department after its director, Terry DeWeese, told police in January that money was missing. Officials said the missing money was discovered after a 2005 audit recommended the city tighten its controls over Parks and Recreation receipts.

At that time, police identified money missing from the Youth Empowerment for Success Fund, a program that receives donations from area businesses and individuals to promote youth programs.

In June, Police Department Director Mike Watson said four people were suspected of stealing registration fees and money for concession stands, although he did not say how much money was missing.

Since the investigation began in February, one other person, a recreation coordinator, was arrested for sexual exploitation of a child after investigators said they found explicit child pornography on his city-issued computer. Detectives said that person was a "person of interest" with the theft investigation, but have declined to say if he was directly involved.

Wilkinson resigned Feb. 14, and recreation supervisor Matt McClure stepped down two weeks later. No charges have been filed against McClure.

DeWeese also announced his retirement on June 2.

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