Archive for Monday, August 16, 2010

Report: Perkins spendy traveler

August 16, 2010


Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins billed the athletics department more than $150,000 for 22 flights on university-owned and leased planes from July 2008 to May 2010, far more than his counterparts at Kansas State and Missouri spent during the same period.

That doesn’t include 23 other private flights he took during that time, The Kansas City Star reported in a story Sunday.

According to the newspaper, which examined Perkins’ travel vouchers, the Kansas official also spent thousands of dollars on car services, rather than renting vehicles at much lower rates.

In February 2009, Perkins flew from Lawrence to Columbia, Mo., by executive-style jet to attend the Kansas men’s basketball game against Missouri. Meanwhile, coach Bill Self and the defending national champions rode a bus.

For that one night, Perkins spent $1,983 on the flight and $380 for ground transportation.

“In my world, time is very important,” Perkins told the newspaper. “I consider my time very valuable. That’s one of the reasons why we have planes, to help us get places quicker.”

He earned $4.4 million last year, with bonuses, at Kansas, and charged the athletic department at least $107,000 for 22 private flights. In some cases, he flew when he could have driven in three hours or less to places such as Wichita, Hutchinson and Lincoln, Neb.

In comparison, Kansas State athletic director John Currie has taken 10 private flights costing $28,430 in his 15 months in that position.

Records show Perkins spent about $7,000 on ground transportation during the 22-month period reviewed by The Star, including $1,827 during two days in New York.

Earlier this year, Perkins took the university’s jet for a 139-mile trip to Pittsburg, Kan., to attend the funeral of former Kansas State quarterback Dylan Meier, whose younger brother Kerry had just finished his career at Kansas.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder also flew to the funeral on a university plane from Manhattan. But the big difference was that Snyder rented a car for $44 to take him from the airport to the funeral, while Perkins spent $425 for a car service.

Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said he usually uses commercial airlines or drives when he takes trips outside of Columbia. The university doesn’t own a plane, and instead uses private planes provided by donors.

Alden said he uses private planes fewer than five times a year, and when he does take a donor plane to a men’s basketball game, he goes only when invited on already-planned flights.

Perkins uses planes owned by Tim Fritzel, a major donor, and Ren Newcomer, both of whom give at least $50,000 a year to the Williams Educational Fund. Boosters at Kansas who donate flight hours can be reimbursed for the cost or earn priority points for their Williams Fund accounts, which helps them get good seats at Kansas athletic events.


cheeseburger 7 years, 2 months ago

It's too bad the LJW got 'scooped' on yet another story of local interest. Thank goodness the AP is working to cover the news in our community!

KU_cynic 7 years, 2 months ago

It's worse than a single scoop -- it's a double scoop. The KC Star broke this story and featured it on the front page yesterday. The AP story merely recycles it (with attribution to the Star). The LJW has had months and months to look into this and hasn't.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 2 months ago

I did not see much wrong, until that last sentence...

"Boosters at Kansas who donate flight hours can be reimbursed for the cost or earn priority points for their Williams Fund accounts, which helps them get good seats at Kansas athletic events."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

The whole thing is pretty wrong, but I noticed this, in particular, too. In other words, these "donors" use KUAC to subsidize their private aircraft.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah - this whole ticket/seat thing is pretty corrupt, isn't it?

Keith 7 years, 2 months ago

The article in the Star has much more detail. Too bad our local paper has no investigative abilities. Can't step on any toes, might disturb the local power brokers and social standing.

Charlie Dominguez 7 years, 2 months ago

Totally agree with that. Its ten families who run this city and the rest of the wanna bees stand around and take orders....

People need to travel more and realize the stupidity of thinking that being a player in Lawrenc has any effect on the world.

Keith 7 years, 2 months ago

Can we have a new version of Godwin's Law?

windjammer 7 years, 2 months ago

Both of the Bush boys set the standard for war mongers.

drknow1951 7 years, 2 months ago

Snodgrass, How in the world do you make the leap from what Perkins is doing and what Michelle and Barack Obama would do? Your statements not only are without any factual basis, but so circumstantial to the topic under discussion as to appear near-delusional. What's up with you?

KU_cynic 7 years, 2 months ago

Is it any wonder where Lew's disgraced underlings took their lessons in diverting organization resources to personal benefit?

Frightwig 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't see a problem. He brings in a ton of money. If the Athletic Department was strapped for cash or in debt I could see reason for concern. That isn't the case though. This is just another witch hunt story that Mizzou fans love to read about...but doesn't carry any weight.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 2 months ago

Corrupt is corrupt, no matter how pretty you wrap it up with ribbons and bows. Or is that, "ribbons and boos"?

BigAl 7 years, 2 months ago

I've been a supporter of Lew for quite a while. I think he has brought in a lot of money and has improved facilities all over campus. For that, I thank him. But, it is getting more difficult to defend him. Some of this is flat-out wasteful spending and he tends to act as if he is above reproach. He isn't. C'mon Lew, get it together and try and go out on a high note. I hope it isn't too late.

Upstate 7 years, 2 months ago

Athletics strapped for cash? Perhaps we should ask the local vendors in town how quickly they get paid (or not).
Athletics in debt? $93,000,000 in debt according the financial statement on the KU Athletic website. After subtracting out advance ticket sales and accounts payable, the debt is still over $73,000,000.

slowplay 7 years, 2 months ago

Learn how to read a financial statement. The current surplus is more than $20,000,000.

Upstate 7 years, 2 months ago

I was responding to an earlier post that suggested that athletics didn't have debt.

But yes, assets exceed liabilities. However, the surplus you point out is in the restricted funds. These restricted funds have donor imposed limitations on how they can be spent (like athletic student scholarships). Bonuses and travel would be paid out of unrestricted funds which have no limits. The health of a non-profit is appearant by examining the unrestricted funds balance. In this case of athletics, the unrestricted funds balance is more than low, it is negative.

slowplay 7 years, 2 months ago

Good analogy, but restricted funds still reduce the current liabilities. These are monies that would normally come out of the general operations budget. Your initial mistake was to look at he long term liabilities and assets which do not include future revenues (general ticket sales, advertisement sales, sponsorships (AT&T, Coke) etc. etc.). If KU Athletics were to liquidate today they would indeed be in the red as there would be no monies to cover long term obligations. Believe me, KU Athletics is doing extremely well.

BorderRuffian 7 years, 2 months ago

"Athletics strapped for cash?"

Kinda like going from jock strap to jock itch, huh?

garyr 7 years, 2 months ago

He does this because he can, and he gets away with it. You're telling me that if you were him, you wouldn't be doing the same thing? He acts no differently than you would in his position. Take a little long of a lunch break, cheat your hours a bit? Take your buddy to lunch and write it off as a business expense? You guys all do the same thing, because you can get away with it. Lew does it for the same reason.

Mandie Eutsler 7 years, 2 months ago

I hate to break it to you cheese. Most people are lacking in ethics and integrity. I'll assume that the adage "give an inch and they will take a mile" holds true. Everyone does things that are wrong because they have figured out how to get away with it. I think for those of us who get away with it on a smaller scale makes it seem like nothing. For a guy who makes 4.4 million, $150,000 just doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I'm not defending him, just poining out that the wealthy don't think of ways to save a buck.

CHKNLTL 7 years, 2 months ago

Yet another example of the "Haves" helping each other have more between them, while helping others have less.

CHKNLTL 7 years, 2 months ago

he spends money, that prevents other department people from spending it. If the company writes it off as loss, they pay no taxes on it as income and thereby taxpayers have less.

BruceWayne 7 years, 2 months ago

how long will BGL let this go on? I assumed she kept him around to get us through the restructuring of the Big 12, which he was busy with personal matters to even represent us. I am sure the athletes have a code of conduct to follow...does Lew? it is my hope he is gone prior to the first football game. Sayers serve as interim, and find someone that will serve the university not themselves

CLARKKENT 7 years, 2 months ago


calwt262 7 years, 2 months ago

Lew Perkins a.k.a Thurston Howell III. Lovey, don't fix that drink yourself, let the hired help do it. Private jet to Columbia, MO? But of course dear, and we'll likely dine on dinosaur egg quiche on our way.

Robert Rauktis 7 years, 2 months ago

This guy should be organizing yacht races for BP. He needs to get his life back.

Maybe we can get Marchiony to take over.

KU_cynic 7 years, 2 months ago

Give me a break . . .

Marchiony is Perkins' consigliari. He would be a completely inappropriate successor.

salad 7 years, 2 months ago

Lets not forget how many varsity sports were ELIMINATED under the rule of lord Perkins. Lew is a perfect example of why the rest of us hate the rich and privledged; not because they have money, it's because they never have to pay for anything with THEIR money. Lew should run for congress, then he could fly on private jets for the same cost as commercial flights and pass it on to the taxpayer, and it's all perfectly legal.*

*This is true, it's part of the travel rules that congress uses and how they can be taxed. It's in David K. Johnstons book "Perfectly Legal".

yankeevet 7 years, 2 months ago

This country or lets say the people; its all about the money...............

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

That's David Cay Johnston..

His book "Nickle and Dimed" is also worth reading

"Perfectly Legal" can get your dander up a bit.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, billybob, my initial guess would be persistent, willful underfunding of those schools and a willful neglect of the State's obligation to provide for the education of its citizens.

I find it just as appalling as you do that our Legislature doesn't value our post-secondary schools any more than this. I hope you talk to your legislators just as I do, asking them to fund these institutions more appropriately.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 2 months ago

Lew Perkins is fiscal problem for Lawrence taxpayers.

Taking home games does Lawrence business people and taxpayers no good.

Next time you think about increased taxes Perkins is one of the culprits. Home games generate a fair amount of tax dollar revenue. When those dollars went to support KCMO guess who makes up the difference? Lawrence taxpayers!

Danimal 7 years, 2 months ago

I've gotta admit, when it said Perkins flew private "X" amount of times and KSU and Mizzou officials flew "X" times my first thought was "Who cares? Perkins' teams win things that matter like National Championships and BCS bowl games."

In reading the KC Star article though it's pretty apparent that he's a little out of touch with the common man and flying private too much. Of course, if you think about it, Lew makes around $2200 an hour if he's pulling in $4.4 million a year and working a 40 hour work week, so maybe it is worth his time to fly private? Either way it seems that Lew needs to be required to get approval from the Chancellor to use the University jet.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Lew needs to go. Let's try to get Kevin Pritchard for A.D. This embarrasment has to end.

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