Topeka The question of whether Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins violated a state gift-ban law is still before the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, according to Perkins’ attorney.
Stephen McAllister, a KU law professor who is representing Perkins in the matter, said Tuesday that no ruling has been made by the Ethics Commission.
“We have referred it to them. It’s in their process,” McAllister said.
The former co-owner of a medical equipment company has said he loaned Perkins exercise equipment at no cost to Perkins.
The dispute is over whether that violates a state law that prohibits state employees from receiving gifts, and whether Perkins, who receives a portion of his salary from state funds, is considered a state employee under that law. Specifically the law states “no person subject to the provisions of this section shall solicit or accept any gift, economic opportunity, loan, gratuity, special discount or service provided because of such person’s official position.”
The penalties for violating the law include grounds for job termination, which would be up to the employee’s supervisor, as well as a $5,000 fine.
Under state law, the Ethics Commission cannot comment on whether it is investigating the matter. McAllister said in June that Perkins requested the commission look into it, and that no ruling has been made yet. The commission met last week and made no announcement pertaining to Perkins. It meets again Sept. 21.
Allegations of Perkins being loaned exercise equipment came to light after the athletic director filed a police report alleging that a member of his staff was blackmailing him over the matter. That former employee, William Dent, alleged in a published report in the Topeka Capital-Journal that Perkins helped the owners of the equipment company secure premium men’s basketball tickets.
Mark Glass, a co-owner of the former Medical Outfitters company, has denied those allegations, and said his company did not seek or receive special consideration for KU basketball tickets.
In July, law enforcement authorities dropped the investigation into the alleged blackmail. Perkins, who has announced that he plans to retire in September 2011, said he didn’t want to push forward with the case.