Douglas County prosecutors don’t plan on filing a criminal case against a former Kansas Athletics Inc. employee accused of blackmailing Athletics Director Lew Perkins over use of loaned personal exercise equipment.
Perkins himself doesn’t want the case to move forward.
“Right now, we’re just leaving that alone,” Perkins said Tuesday. “It could be opened back up again at any time.”
Lawrence police formally have concluded their investigation of the case, which was reported by Perkins April 16. At the time, Perkins said that someone had been communicating with him “seeking to take advantage of me” since Sept. 15, 2009.
That person soon was identified as William Dent, a former employee in sports medicine who had left the department in 2007 after he himself had been charged with aggravated assault and making threats, charges he never was convicted of and for which he had entered a two-year diversion program that ended earlier this year.
In 2005, Dent had arranged to have exercise equipment installed in Perkins’ home, so that Perkins could rehabilitate after surgery. Perkins had not paid for the equipment, an arrangement Perkins acknowledged earlier this year. He later sent a $5,000 check to a former owner of the business that had provided the equipment to cover such use.
Perkins’ use of the equipment has been referred to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission for possible investigation of compliance with ethics rules for state employees.
Lawrence police looked into the blackmail, gathered evidence and even forwarded an affidavit to District Attorney Charles Branson. But police also received word from Perkins that he didn’t want to push the case and that has put a halt to the proceedings.
“The investigation’s been completed, but he’s choosing not to have it prosecuted,” Sgt. Mike Monroe said. “We’re going to respect his wishes and move onto the next thing. We have plenty of things to keep us busy.
“If and when he ever decides to pursue it, we’ll forward any additional information that we have.”
Branson confirmed Tuesday that he would not anticipate receiving the additional information he’d need for considering whether to file criminal charges.
Perkins, for his part, is moving on. After lauding police personnel who pursued the case — “the detectives that we worked with were awesome; I have great admiration for them,” he said — Perkins once again noted that he and his attorney could decide to pursue blackmail charges against Dent sometime down the road.
He declined to discuss why he opted not to seek charges, saying only that the decision was made after consultation with his attorney, Stephen McAllister.
“I’m looking forward to retirement,” Perkins said.
Perkins has announced plans to retire in September 2011.