Archive for Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Former Kansas Athletics Inc. employees headed to court in KU ticket scandal case

From left, Ben Kirtland, Kassie Liebsch, Rodney Jones and Charlette Blubaugh have been charged with stealing tickets from KU. Also charged was Tom Blubaugh, who is not pictured.

From left, Ben Kirtland, Kassie Liebsch, Rodney Jones and Charlette Blubaugh have been charged with stealing tickets from KU. Also charged was Tom Blubaugh, who is not pictured.

December 7, 2010, 5:21 p.m. Updated December 8, 2010, 9:40 a.m.


KU ticket scandal

David Ray Freeman, a Lawrence builder, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with an anticipated building boom in Junction City.

Five people who raised money from Kansas University ticket buyers, oversaw KU ticket operations or worked to help manage the school’s ticket operations are headed to federal court to face charges they stole tickets from the university and together cost Kansas Athletics Inc. up to $5 million.

Five defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Wichita, each facing a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their role in an alleged ticket scheme involving tickets to football and basketball games from 2005 to 2010:

• Charlette Blubaugh, former director of ticket operations.

• Tom Blubaugh, Charlette Blubaugh’s husband and a former paid consultant to Kansas Athletics Inc.

• Rodney Jones, a former assistant athletics director in charge of the Williams Educational Fund.

• Ben Kirtland, Jones’ former boss and former associate athletics director for development.

• Kassie Liebsch, former director of ticket operations.

The five are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale. Each may choose to waive Gale’s reading of the indictment, which had been filed Nov. 18.

The defendants will be required to plead not guilty to the charge, and Gale also will consider other procedural matters, such as setting bonds and scheduling hearings. A conviction would be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

The case already has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown.

Two of their former coworkers already have pleaded guilty to failing to inform authorities about the ticket scheme, and are awaiting sentencing. Those employees — Brandon Simmons and Jason Jeffries — entered their pleas at separate hearings immediately following their first appearances, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Simmons and Jeffries were not named in the latest indictment, one that was reached by a grand jury in Topeka.

The indictment outlines a “scheme” and “conspiracy” that started in 2005, when Charlette Blubaugh is alleged to have started taking tickets and distributing them to the others for sale to third parties — through individuals and ticket brokers — in violation of university policies.

The indictment alleges that the individuals entered false information into a computer system designed to prevent ticket theft; paid kickbacks to third parties not connected with the ticket office; had checks written to third parties; and had checks written by ticket brokers to third parties.

The indictment also alleges that they concealed the receipt of their outside income on reports required by NCAA rules.

Prosecutors have indicated that they plan to seek a judgment of $3 million to $5 million from the defendants.

An investigation financed by and conducted on behalf of KU determined that the scheme involved more than 17,000 tickets for men’s basketball and more than 2,000 tickets for football, all for regular season games.

Interactive Timeline

KU ticket scandal timeline

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yankeevet 7 years, 5 months ago

Like rats on a sinking ship..........

AS 7 years, 5 months ago

They did the crime, so let them do the time!!!! They are to late to speak up, others have already beat them to late!!!

Keith 7 years, 5 months ago

Is that why they will be required to plead not guilty, there are no more deals to be had?

Synjyn Smythe 7 years, 5 months ago

At an arraignment in federal court, the magistrate can only take a not guilty plea!

jhkfan 7 years, 5 months ago

What happened to the non-KU employees that were in on this scheme? Did they go to court yet?

wmathews 7 years, 5 months ago

Thus far, the only seven indictments in this case are former KU employees.

Whitney Mathews Assistant Community Editor for Online

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 5 months ago

Why are they "required" to plead not guilty? Couldn't they plead guilty or nolo contendere?

somedude20 7 years, 5 months ago

"A conviction would be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million."

30 years for stealing tickets and that drunk kid who ran over and ran away from the killing of Rachel Leek only gets 6 months, WTF?

Does not seem right that stealing money or game tickets should have that type of punishment when killing a person gets you less than a year

monkeyhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Agree, dude. Activist Lawrence judges ....

Why aren't they charged with tax evasion? Oh yeah, that is a slap on the wrist these days.

bad_dog 7 years, 5 months ago

Ask Wesley Snipes whether tax evasion is a slap on the wrist, monkeyhawk. He was recently convicted of failing to file the required forms-not even tax evasion, mind you-and was sentenced to three years in a federal prison.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Don't know who he pi$$ed off, but I stand corrected - unless your name is Rangel, Sebelius, Geithner, Richardson, Daschle, Killefer, Solis, Gregg, etc. you must pay a penalty for not doing the "patriotic thing" (according to Biden).

Unprecedented Level of Tax Evasion Among Obama Appointees

Not that I have any sympathy for these (alleged) thieves. They should get the Al Capone treatment.

gl0ck0wn3r 7 years, 5 months ago

I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on the intarwebs. I'd guess that they are holding onto the tax evasion charges for a second round of fun if they don't get convictions on these charges. They can go after them for that without having double jeopardy problems.

rabbit 7 years, 5 months ago

Why must these people pictures be plasterd all over the paper. Such non sense.. When did xo!$* people stop stealing......

Danielle Brunin 7 years, 5 months ago

Uh oh, the "collager" strikes again! These pictures are just unpleasant, and what's with Charlette Blubaugh's weird Chris Farley teeth? Sinner...

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 5 months ago

I was thinking Jerry Mathers in drag, but I can see where you're coming from.

bangaranggerg 7 years, 5 months ago

I have an idea that could help the Athletics Department and Williams Fund recoup all the money these dirtbags stole. If you tie them up in Stocks out in front of Allen Fieldhouse I would happily pay $10 per rock to throw at them.

txjayhawk54 7 years, 5 months ago

I will spend good money on airline tickets + pay $10 per rock for that!!!

garyr 7 years, 5 months ago

Why don't they just take some of Charlette Blubaugh's performing royalties? It shouldn't be too hard. Her performing name is Susan Boyle!

Steve Miller 7 years, 5 months ago

I bet there butt checks are so tight you couldn't drive a tootpick in between them !!

Kontum1972 7 years, 5 months ago

bet they all are not smiling now...wonder how many will take the------> "easy way out "

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 5 months ago

17,000 basketball tickets over 5 years!!! Is that right?

That 3,400 tickets a year!!! So if you went to a game from 2005 - 2010, unless you were a student or had season tickets, you bought a stolen ticket.

I'm also interested to know about charges against the the ticket sellers and the 3rd party, check cashing participants.

number1jayhawker 7 years, 5 months ago

Good questions. If you sell stolen property you are gulty of a crime too.

I always wondered how these ticket broker places received all of the tickets they had to sell each year. LOL

Scott Overfield 7 years, 5 months ago

Isn't receiving stolen goods a crime? Like they didn't know what they were buying. Maybe they can hire Carrie Neighbors as their attorney.

gl0ckUser 7 years, 4 months ago

here I'll give them the same Legal advise They will get from Her attorney........

"Just give up plead Guilty I know your not Guilty but hey if you plead Guilty maybe I can request probation.......... "

Now that is some sound Legal advise from a defense attorney. Good thing they are Free because I am pretty Sure you would want your money back.........

BobtheBuilder 7 years, 5 months ago

The sad thing is Lew Perkins knew everything that was going on and turned his back to it. He was notified of a ticket problem in late 2006 and did nothing about it. He should be looked into. Who bought the red Corvette he is driving. I heard Adidas paid for it. The guy is the most crooked guy to come through Lawrence in a long time. Good luck paying back all the debt he created here.

Richard Payton 7 years, 5 months ago

Could they be headed to the super max prison if found guilty?

beeshlii 7 years, 5 months ago

HO HO HO HA HA HA and you thought Haskell University was bad.

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