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Archive for Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two guilty pleas expected in KU athletics ticket scandal

Both Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons are accused of knowing about the ticket thefts and not reporting them. Jeffries' lawyer comments on the situation.

July 7, 2010, 1:37 p.m. Updated July 8, 2010, 7:45 a.m.

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Brandon Simmons Court Filing ( .PDF )

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Jason Jeffries Court Filings ( .PDF )

Jason Jeffries, former assistant director of ticket operations, in a 2005 file photo. Jeffries and Brandon Simmons, former assistant athletics director for sales and marketing, were charged in a ticket scandal investigation in which KU Athletics allegedly lost millions of dollars.

Jason Jeffries, former assistant director of ticket operations, in a 2005 file photo. Jeffries and Brandon Simmons, former assistant athletics director for sales and marketing, were charged in a ticket scandal investigation in which KU Athletics allegedly lost millions of dollars.

Brandon W. Simmons

Brandon W. Simmons

Two former Kansas Athletics Inc. employees are facing federal charges that they knew about a ticket-theft scheme without telling authorities in a timely manner.

Both intend to plead guilty, and at least one intends to continue assisting federal authorities as they pursue cases spawned by a scandal that a Kansas University investigation already has found to have involved nearly 20,000 regular-season basketball and football tickets — up to $3 million in tickets found to have been stolen from Kansas Athletics and sold for personal gain.

Brandon W. Simmons, a former assistant athletics director, and Jason Jeffries, a former assistant director of ticket operations, each is charged with misprision of a felony, which is itself a felony punishable by up to up to three years in prison.

Tom Haney, a Topeka attorney representing Jeffries, said that his client would plead guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors that could help them continue to build cases against others.

“Mr. Jeffries has always cooperated with the investigation from day one, and will continue to cooperate with the government,” Haney said. “We’ve decided it’s in his best interest to enter a plea of guilty and continue to cooperate with the investigation. …

“It provides finality and he can get on with his life. He’s never done anything but cooperate and will continue to cooperate.”

Both Simmons and Jeffries are among six people identified by an internal investigation conducted for Kansas University pertaining to the ticket-fraud scheme.

Stolen tickets

The internal investigation found that nearly 20,000 tickets for regular-season basketball and football games had been stolen by employees and sold for personal gain. The thefts occurred from 2005 to 2010, and were said to have cost the department anywhere from $1 million to $3 million.

Haney declined to identify who else might be the subject of his client’s cooperation, although he said that Jeffries was “being lumped in with the real wrongdoers. Some of the folks mentioned are way above my client’s pay scale.”

KU’s own report implicated four others along with Simmons and Jeffries:

• Charlette Blubaugh, former associate director of ticket operations.

• Rodney Jones, former assistant athletics director for the Williams Educational Fund.

• Ben Kirtland, former associate athletics director for development.

• Tom Blubaugh, Charlette’s husband and a former consultant for ticket operations.

Federal authorities, including the FBI and IRS, have been working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate the case, and their work led KU officials to order their own investigation. KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins, who recently announced plans to retire in September 2011, has said that he first learned of the federal investigation in December.

Simmons joined the KU ticket office in 2005 and was promoted to assistant athletics director for sales and marketing in December. Jeffries started in the ticket office in 2003 and became assistant director of ticket operations in 2004.

Both resigned in April, a little over a month after KU ordered its own investigation and nearly a month before its results were released.

Campus to courtroom

Now, Simmons and Jeffries become the first two former employees to face charges in connection with the case, which is moving from campus to the courtroom.

“This is a federal case at this point,” said Mark Bennett, Simmons’ attorney.

Simmons and Jeffries are scheduled to hear the charge against them read by U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Humphreys in Wichita at 10:30 a.m. July 14 for Jeffries and July 15 for Simmons. That’s when they’ll be required to formally plead not guilty.

Jeffries is scheduled to stand before U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown at 11 a.m. July 14 for a change of plea hearing. Simmons will do the same thing at 11 a.m. July 15. That’s when each will be expected to plead guilty.

“There has been expressed a desire to plead guilty,” said Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who noted that defendants are not required to do so.

Neither Simmons nor Jeffries has signed a plea agreement. Jeffries will be expected to sign his following the second hearing, Haney said.

One of the investigators involved with KU’s own probe has said that he expects federal cases to reach beyond regular-season tickets, and to involve more money lost. That’s because the KU investigation covered only regular-season tickets that could be documented.

Tickets for post-season basketball and football games were not addressed in KU’s internal report.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the day of Jason Jeffries' hearings. He will apear July 14.

Comments

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 5 months ago

Talk first. Talk the most. Spend no time behind bars.

Fred Vance 4 years, 5 months ago

Thump! Thump! Did I hear someone being thrown under the bus???

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

How many of the people involved are worth a federal rap on your resume?

yankeevet 4 years, 5 months ago

whole bunch of crooks; lol...........got caught

parrothead8 4 years, 5 months ago

I swear sometimes nobody has heard of Google around here.

Bridgett Wagner 4 years, 5 months ago

I think it should be "misprision" instead of "misprison" ...

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 5 months ago

Misprision of a felony (that is correct) means failing to report a felony. Wikipedia article about its basis in common law:

fuel_for_the_fire 4 years, 5 months ago

Misprision of a felony is having knowledge of a felony but not reporting it.

fuel_for_the_fire 4 years, 5 months ago

&&^%%$*@#! JK: You beat me to it. (But I didn't have to look it up, so I still win). :)

huskerpower 4 years, 5 months ago

Given the fact that the investigation is still on going, I highly doubt the local newspaper has access to this info....

dabbindan 4 years, 5 months ago

bigger fish are to fry, and i hope the oil is hot.

riverdrifter 4 years, 5 months ago

Sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff.

Suspicious aroma permeates this poster...

Steve Jacob 4 years, 5 months ago

Not reporting a felony charge is pretty thin, unless they did in fact profit from it. Then it's a good plea deal for them. I'd hate to plea to a felony unless I had too.

KEITHMILES05 4 years, 5 months ago

If they are only being charged as is then that means they didn't take any money? I thought all these scammers took money and if so should they not be charged with that also?

It'll be interesting to see if Roger Morningstar gets charged.

No doubt the feds are working on bigger charges against Rodney Jones and perhaps the others.

JDB 4 years, 5 months ago

Misprision Of A Felony also requires a deliberate concealment of the felony:

Misprision Of A Felony Law & Legal Definition http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/misprision-of-a-felony/

A misprision of a felony is the concealment of a felony without giving any degree of support to the felony.

To sustain a conviction of misprision of a felony, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

* that the principal had committed and completed the felony alleged;
* that the defendant had full knowledge of that fact;
* that the defendant failed to notify authorities; and
* that the defendant took affirmative steps to conceal the crime of the principal.

The elements of misprision of a felony, both of which must be proved to support conviction, are:

* concealment of something, such as suppression of evidence or some other positive act; and
* failure to disclose.

Failure to disclose, without active concealment, is not a felony.

John Spencer 4 years, 5 months ago

None of which matters, if they please guilty.

4everahawk 4 years, 5 months ago

JDB: They were guilty on all counts you mentioned above - read the findings of the investigation.

They collected about $200 grand over a few years for the tickets they sold.

Hopefully they can fill in the details on others who may also be guilty of misprision of a felony that haven't been named yet.

Victoria 4 years, 5 months ago

These two are the lowest on the totem pole. They had knowledge of wrong doing of the people higher on the pole. Don't know for sure if they actually benefitted monetarily. Would be interesting to examine the lifestyles of those investigated...would probably reveal who profitted and was living the high life the most. Both these guys lost their jobs, have a felony on their record, have a ruined reputation and will have a hard time gaining future employment. If they didn't benefit financially, seems like the punishment fits the crim.

blindrabbit 4 years, 5 months ago

Besides those mentioned in the story above' I'll bet other KU fat-cats living in the Folkes Road neighborhood are kinda "sweating it".

4everahawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Victoria: They DID profit from the sale of tickets.......to the tune of about $200 grand over a few years time.....damn, people, read the investigative reports that are available on this story. They not only concealed the felony - they were profiting from it as well as the 4 others....

justforfun 4 years, 5 months ago

blindrabbit- you must mean Bill Self?? He lives there! Oh thats right he bought his house from Dave Freeman.

blindrabbit 4 years, 5 months ago

justforfun: Note your comment, but there are some "other" close neighbors that are probably a bit nervous.

tomatogrower 4 years, 5 months ago

The sad thing is, there are plenty of honest people out there who would gladly earn what these guys earned and work for the Jayhawks, but they hire the sleazes instead.

martyks 4 years, 5 months ago

What a person agrees to plead guilty to and what that person actually did are often two completely different things. Charges are reduced, compromises are made, in order to land the really big fish. Often, the D.A. has a fairly strong case, but may not have it locked down and would rather take care of it quickly at less expense... but everyone's eyes are probably on bigger fish.

chumchuum 4 years, 5 months ago

i can tell you for a fact they are after three people. rodney jones and the pump brothers.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

Who or how many know the Pump brothers?

Did they magically appear?

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