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Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lawrence developer David Freeman gets 18-month sentence in bribery case, attorney says client discussed KU Athletics scandal with FBIIRS

April 22, 2010, 10:51 a.m. Updated April 22, 2010, 7:09 p.m.

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— David Freeman provided prosecutors and federal investigators with information that’s led to two resignations at Kansas Athletics Inc. and spurred an internal investigation into the department’s Williams Educational Fund and athletics ticket office, Freeman’s attorney said Thursday.

But such cooperation with the FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney’s office was not enough to keep the Lawrence developer out of prison on what attorney Carl Cornwell considers an unrelated case, into a bribery conviction on a Junction City land deal.

Freeman was sentenced Thursday to spend 18 months in prison — instead of the probation his attorney had both sought and expected, given his client’s willingness to answer questions and provide information on the KU case.

“I got no credit for that,” Cornwell said, outside the courtroom. “This whole thing is bull----. I got no credit — none — for stopping business as usual at KU.

“Money talked down there. You could get tickets, if you paid in cash.”

Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director at KU, declined to comment on Freeman’s sentencing, his attorney’s assertions or anything else regarding the ongoing federal probe and separate internal investigation into operations of the ticket office at the Williams Fund, which is the donor organization that controls who gets access to the best seats for basketball and football through a points system based on donations.

The fund, which has more than 4,200 members, last year generated $15 million in revenue for Kansas Athletics.

“We can’t comment on anything related to this case,” Marchiony said.

Cooperative agreement

Cornwell said that Freeman, a Lawrence developer, started talking to federal prosecutors last year regarding a pay-for-preference deal that had Freeman giving a Junction City official money in exchange for deals that gave Freeman’s company control of real estate deals worth $12 million.

As part of Freeman’s cooperation — he pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit bank fraud — Freeman agreed to provide prosecutors with information regarding that case. During those discussions, prosecutors apparently learned of Freeman’s involvement in ticket issues at KU, issues that Cornwell said involved more people than Freeman and stretched well beyond the financial implications of Freeman’s payments to a Junction City commissioner.

“That was $19,000,” Cornwell said, of the total payments Freeman admitted to paying to secure municipal construction contracts in Junction City. “There’s hundreds of thousands of dollars involved (with KU tickets) that was never reported as income.”

Cornwell acknowledged that Freeman had secured a proffer agreement with prosecutors, to protect him from prosecution beyond the conspiracy he’d admitted in the bribery case. The agreement required his client to be “completely, totally honest,” Cornwell said, and not only in the Junction City case but “anything else” he knew about.

Cornwell said it was his hope that the tickets investigation would lead to others being indicted — possibly for tax evasion, theft, money laundering or something else — although he took Thursday’s lack of probation in federal court as a setback.

“All the other people involved, nothing will happen to them,” Cornwell said. “I told (Freeman): ‘Justice will prevail. The system will work.’ It didn’t work. …

“There was an understanding: If I cooperated in the tickets deal, something good’s going to happen. My client cooperated. It didn’t happen.”

Approaching the bench

During the sentencing hearing, Cornwell requested a bench conference with U.S. District Judge Richard Rogers and prosecutors, a meeting that lasted longer than 10 minutes. Cornwell said he used the time to emphasize to the judge that Freeman’s information already had spurred needed change at Kansas Athletics Inc.: the resignations of two officials with the Williams Educational Fund, and the ongoing internal review.

Rodney Jones, an assistant athletics director for the fund who had been on administrative leave since early last month, resigned last week. Jones’ boss, Ben Kirtland, resigned April 5 as associate athletics director for fundraising.

But Rogers focused on the Junction City case in sentencing Freeman, saying that the court generally sides with recommendations from prosecutors. Those prosecutors had recommended that Freeman spend between 18 months and 24 months in prison.

“I hope that you can put this behind you and that you will never again be in any trouble with any court,” Rogers said told Freeman about the “event that made many people lose confidence in city government and government, in general.”

Rogers previously had sentenced Mick Wunder, the Junction City commissioner convicted of accepting payments from Freeman, to 24 months in federal prison. He reported to a minimum security prison in Duluth, Minn.

Freeman remains free until authorities decide where he should spend his 18-month incarceration. Cornwell said that he likely would be sent to a minimum security prison in Leavenworth, Duluth or Yankton, S.D.

Because of his plea agreement, he can’t appeal.

“We’re screwed,” Cornwell said, noting that his client would serve his 18 months and then move on.

“Rodney Jones resigns, and everything’s going on,” Cornwell said. “Who sets that in motion? My client. And I don’t get credit for that? Damn.”

Comments

dubstep 4 years, 8 months ago

Story is, this guy's dirty and has been for years. Took his wife's name when he went broke, tried to build his dream home and went bankrupt building it. Are my sources correct? I heard Bill Self now owns it?

Scott Overfield 4 years, 8 months ago

I think "relocation" should be a consideration for Dave in 18 months. How many more people did he throw under the bus?

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 8 months ago

If these people are engaged in illegal activities, he isn't really "throwing them under the bus," is he?

Scott Overfield 4 years, 8 months ago

True, but it seemed at the time that everybody was happier and making a lot more money. Rodney had his full time job and his part time job, Lew was making bonuses, people were not having to contribute to the Williams Fund and getting good seating at b-ball games. It will be remembered as the good ole days by the people involved.

headdoctor 4 years, 8 months ago

You might have a point. I am thinking the correct question or response from the above posts is was he the thrower or the throwee.

sally87 4 years, 8 months ago

Hahaha "screwed"?! Nice. Self did buy an incomplete home from a builder who had run out of money (possibly gone bankrupt). I'm not sure if this builder was Freeman.

BobtheBuilder 4 years, 8 months ago

Compton runs a very clean business. People in this town should respect him. His company is one of the top 20 employers in the city. He has helped me get business in the past as well. Freeman is extremely dirty and should have gotten way more time. He was best friends with Rodney and then rolled over on him. 18 months is nothing for the money he claims to have stashed away over all of this.

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 8 months ago

Not sure it's a bad thing in this case.

It's not like his older sister had an extra cookie behind Mom's back and he's telling on her....

somebodynew 4 years, 8 months ago

WOW. read the story at the Star !! Interesting about the KU angle.

clarkentsman 4 years, 8 months ago

Freeman sold a house on Bobwhite Drive without disclosing that the basement leaked. When it leaked again the new owner had to file a lawsuit to recover money from Freeman. Even then after being ordered by the court to pay the damages he failed to do so.

mogambojr13 4 years, 8 months ago

But the plaintiffs in that case finally got justice. Got a court order and the Sheriff came knocking at his front door and took everything that wasn't nailed down to be sold to satisfy the default judgment. Clothing, jewelry, tv's and of course his Corvette and Hummer and whatever else he so wisely invested his ill-gotten gains in. Of course he found a sucker to loan him $400k so he could get all of his crap back. Not the best lawyerin' in this case either, given the failure to respond and a default judgment.

dougmarshall 4 years, 8 months ago

That is small amount of time he will serve in relation to all the people he has "screwed" with terrible construction on new homes. My dog house is built better than the homes has has thrown up in Lawrence.

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 8 months ago

It's a lot longer drive back to Lawrence from KCK than to the Star's office from KCK. We got the basic story up first (half hour before the Star) and are pounding away at an update. We'll give you everything we can as fast as we can.

jhawk25 4 years, 8 months ago

The article says the hearing took place in Topeka.

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 8 months ago

Good call. I imagine they were working out of Topeka and we drove back. Apologies. We're working as quick as we can.

Take_a_letter_Maria 4 years, 8 months ago

The Star must have used that new thing called Electronic Mail to send their story from Topeka then. :-)

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 8 months ago

We used this crazy thing called a cell phone. :-) Just about to post an update!

Take_a_letter_Maria 4 years, 8 months ago

Good to see you are keeping a sense of humor about all of this.

Hope your guys weren't roaming with that cellular telephone. I understand those charges really add up quickly.

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm never above making fun of myself. Never. If I were, I'd never survive this job.

jonas_opines 4 years, 8 months ago

Headline's pretty funny if you look at it the right way.

"FreeMan gets 18 month sentence."

Not free any more, man.

Kontum1972 4 years, 8 months ago

LoL....hope his "roomie" is nice....aka Bluto

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 8 months ago

Nah, just misunderstood. We were in Topeka. Just drove back. Update coming soon. Sorry for the delay.

MyName 4 years, 8 months ago

Not to be too blunt about it, but if you backseat journalists think you can do a better job, go start your own paper. There's nothing stopping you!

First Amendment baby! It's real!!

Ray_Finkle 4 years, 8 months ago

Being somewhat new to this idyllic community I am unaware of what Roger Morningstar does (I know he played b-ball) or why it would be assumed that he would be involved. Care to elaborate?

Scott Overfield 4 years, 8 months ago

Local developer/ builder who use to be a partner of Freeman's.

Kash_Encarri 4 years, 8 months ago

Don't forget everyone's favorite t-shirt printer - Larry Sinks.

Phog67 4 years, 8 months ago

The Sinks family in general. Go Carrie!

Graczyk 4 years, 8 months ago

I love how the attorney doesn't think his client should do time in an unrelated (I think) bribery case just because he rolled on some other dopes. It does not follow.

BruceWayne 4 years, 8 months ago

BobtheBuilder (anonymous) says… Compton runs a very clean business. People in this town should respect him. His company is one of the top 20 employers in the city.

and the LJW protects him because he advertises. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jul... the LJW was irresponsible in never following up on this story.

puddleglum 4 years, 8 months ago

good thing first management destroyed that computer, Doug, you need to give that girl a serious raise. and i don't mean raize...well, you know what I mean.

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 8 months ago

That poor, poor man! Here he is, being a good citizen and making sure that the people at KUAC are following the law and they put him in prison for 18 months just because he offered $12 million in bribes. What is this country coming to? sarcasm off

Oh, and I hope he didn't pay too much for his genius of an attorney. Sheesh!

Randall Barnes 4 years, 8 months ago

18 to 24 months is that long enough to remodel the prison ? well with the cheap work he does i guess it might.

volunteer 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Take_a_letter_Maria. The good humor and non-defensive tone of J. Kealing are commendable. Thanks, sir. Also, thanks to the commenters who add details or corrections to online stories.

Richard Payton 4 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence the second hotbed for fraud behind wall street. KU Athletics, Freeman and more to come.

ilovelucy 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm really having trouble having pity for Dave. You play, you must pay. His attorney sounds like a real idiot. Trying to make the man sound noble...pfffft.

Buggieskay 4 years, 8 months ago

18 month!!! He should have gotten 18 years for all the small businesses that he screwed over and for all the scams that he did. What a loser. The only companies that he ever helped in this town were the strip clubs. I wonder if he will be the big spoon or the little spoon. LOL...

Bridgett Wagner 4 years, 8 months ago

“I’d told him: ‘Justice will prevail. The system will work,’ ” Cornwell said afterward. “It didn’t work.”

Wow, where did this guy get his lawyerin license, anyway? Pretty sure that's NOT how the system is supposed to work...

Richard Payton 4 years, 8 months ago

Washburn University School of Law 1976 Bar Admission 1977 This information I posted was from his website.

BruceWayne 4 years, 8 months ago

so let me make sure I understand. He got caught and charged. He then snitched and created the ticket scandal, hoping they would go easy on him? snitches get stitches.

Danielle Brunin 4 years, 8 months ago

I hope the KUAC scandal contacts don't have any organized crime connections. If so, Freeman and his lawyer are toast!

Okay, that's probably a little too John Grisham, but hey, the weather sucks and I'm on break. :D

Tom Miller 4 years, 8 months ago

...I'm sure you're aware it's a "double" sorta system...kinda like two sets of books for a business...there is the system that's ON the books, laws, legislation, the judicial system we learned about in school, and then there's that "other" system...the "how stuff REALLY works" system...you know, the one we've actually seen in full-blown operation...the one where $$$ talks and b.s. walks, where "brown paper bag" deals are a how stuff actually gets done. Freeman pled guilty to those types of deals, bribery and such, and seeing them as the norm, in HIS world at least, truly thought that's how the system works...and he's right, but this time, the ol' boyz took his info, and most likely his $$$, by way of additional attorney fees which were then properly dispersed, and proceeded to "screw" him, which his lawyer found objectionable. I mean, after all, they'd played the game the way they knew it to work in reality, and then he got actual jail time instead of probation. Tough sh_t. Sometimes even a moderately corrupt system needs to re-balance its self with a smidge of semi-rectitude. GOT to in order to ever have a working, and workable system. He's right, his client WAS screwed, sorta-kinda, by a system they thought they knew and could manipulate, but instead it bit the hand that had fed it. Again, tough sh_t...sin loy.

reality 4 years, 8 months ago

This is definatly not Freeman's first rodeo. His brother took the fall for him many years ago, and Freeman let his brother go to prison for him! Freeman sure didn't have any problems with the way things were being done at KU until his a$$ was in the hotseat! I'm not in agreeance with the happenings at KU, but REALLY, you don't get a lighter sentence for enlightening authorities on every crime you've known about. I'm sure Freeman's personal list of dirty laundry is much larger than his current charges! I hope Bubba likes him alot in prison! Freeman will probably be the next body in the river waiting to be identified once he is released!

Richard Payton 4 years, 8 months ago

Bubba may get him to talk in prison. This may allow Bubba earlier release date if his laundry list is indeed that large.

4theHawkS 4 years, 8 months ago

Freeman sold his "dream house" that made him go broke to Self for 1/3 the value of the $3millon house that sits just a few lots down from good ole buddy Compton. Small town. Smaller elite groups. The dirtiest part about the bribery case is that Freeman was allegedly given $60K to grease city officials to grant these mega-contracts for the builders associated with Big D and Friends developing JunC town. Ex-Mayor Wunder admits taking $19,000 so Freeman's greed of getting his own multi-millon dollar contracts wasn't enough...he skimmed more off the top of the bribe money from what might as well be fronted by the Lawryville mafia. He won't last long though, snitches aren't that popular in Fed prisons.

thebigspoon 4 years, 8 months ago

He will have to be the "little spoon'" because there is already a "big spoon"...

Scruggsy 4 years, 8 months ago

It appears the ticket scandal is going to get much worse and really sleazy before all is said and done. As if it wasn't enough already...

Jeremiah Jefferson 4 years, 8 months ago

Atleast he didnt spill the beans about how much KU pays the mens basketball team lol.

Godot 4 years, 8 months ago

It is time for the Kansas legislature to divest the Williams Fund and KUAC of their tax exempt status. They are playing hardball big business, just like Goldman Suchs.

Uhjh 4 years, 8 months ago

It is so sad when a third party trips an inquire to ticket malfeasance on the part of KU. While Big Lew has done some good for KU he certainly did not and apparently does not have his finger on the pulse of the entire operation of KU athletics. This is why he is paid big bucks to make sure all aspects are functioning properly and not just prancing around with a gigantic cigar in his mouth after a big victory. While delegation is a given for his position he still remains responsible and should have had controls in place period. I am dumbfounded at the fact he is allowed to control this investigation and it is not being conducted by the regents. In such an area he will have the latitude to spin this any way he wishes under the guise of being independent. At this point in time this simply reeks and will become revolting and loathsome if there is a mere whiff of spin. It is time for the University to take charge and leave Lew as a non-player until objective facts can be established. The Chancellor must exercise some independence and moxie and not be intimidated by KU athletes if the truth will ever really be known.

Uhjh 4 years, 8 months ago

Reposted – excuse my typos please. It is so sad when a third party trips an inquiry into ticket malfeasance on the part of KU. While Big Lew has done some good for KU he certainly did not and apparently does not have his finger on the pulse of the entire operation of KU athletics. This is why he is paid big bucks to make sure all aspects are functioning properly and not just prancing around with a gigantic cigar in his mouth after a big victory. While delegation is a given for his position he still remains responsible and should have had controls in place period. I am dumbfounded at the fact he is allowed to control this investigation and it is not being conducted by the Regents. In such an area he will have the latitude to spin this any way he wishes under the guise of being independent. At this point in time it simply reeks and will become revolting and loathsome if there is a mere whiff of spin. It is time for the University to take charge and leave Lew as a non-player until objective facts can be established. The Chancellor must exercise some independence and moxie and not be intimidated by KU athletics if the truth will ever really be known.

Hawaiian Ice 4 years, 8 months ago

Man LJworld sucks at reporting news. thanks for that link it makes you understand the story alot better then the bullcrap jlwold reports!! I understand its a small community and they gots to be careful whos toes they step on cause they make money off of advertisement ect. but i just want the news.. all of it not just a filtered version! thanks again for the link. i may just have to get rid of my LJWorld widget and just read KCStar for the complete story from now on!

BruceWayne 4 years, 8 months ago

smitty (anonymous) says… KC Star even names T-shirt Sinks as involved in the scam along with quite a few others. Quite a lengthy record of illegal activity by our locals.

illegal activity like buying known stolen property? illegal activity like a pot growing operation? illegal activity like having stolen guns in your home while growing said pot?

yankeevet 4 years, 8 months ago

I wish we had time to bury them fellas. To hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

Sports economists say that athletic fundraising arms such as the Williams Fund — which require large contributions from boosters in return for tickets — make tickets so valuable that it’s hard to resist the temptation to sell them under the table.

“There is an incredible amount of money on the table here, so if someone has their finger in the till, it doesn’t surprise me a lot,” said Rich Sheehan, a sports economist at Notre Dame. “This was an accident waiting to happen.”

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/22/1896851/ku-ticket-scandal-involves-big.html#ixzz0lxEhzw00

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

How many legs can this matter develop?

NCAA violations?

Illegal Dollars?

Brian Conrad 4 years, 8 months ago

such a joke.. this goes on in every town .. every day .. makes for good reading , but with billions being spent on developments , banks on every corner... I am amazed $20,000 bribe got this much attention.. AND if you think ANY college in country ( sold out ) , does not have someone buying up lots of tickets to sold out events and cashing in on eBay ... well you are nuts ! ps. this has to be worst Lawyer in town... what a joke..

Brian Conrad 4 years, 8 months ago

can buy a ticket to sold out MU, KSU Kentucky game on eBay everyday... IF they sell out ! I am positive those guys are declaring every tax dollar gain....

independant1 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey kids can you spell c o n s p i r a c y? this one has legs

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