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Archive for Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Former KU Athletics employee Jason Jeffries pleads guilty to ticket scandal charges

July 14, 2010, 6:43 a.m. Updated July 14, 2010, 2:22 p.m.

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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.

Plea entered in KU ticket scandal trial

Former KU Athletics employee Jason Jeffries entered a guilty plea Wednesday in federal court in relation to the KU ticket scandal. An estimated $1M to $3M of tickets was sold for personal gain. Enlarge video

— Jason Jeffries already told KU investigators that he’d manipulated the ticket-distribution system at Kansas Athletics Inc. to set aside as many as 56 tickets per year for his own benefit, all while allowing the transactions to be disguised from basketball season-ticket holders as the tickets were in turn sold to an out-of-state broker.

Now Jeffries has pledged, in writing, to help federal prosecutors build a federal case against others said to be involved in the theft and sale of Kansas University football and basketball tickets for personal gain — a scheme KU says involved at least 19,000 tickets and cost Kansas Athletics anywhere from $1 million to $3 million, likely more.

“Mr. Jeffries certainly has always accepted his responsibility and continues to do so,” attorney Tom Haney said Wednesday, after his client pleaded guilty to a federal charge of failing to report the criminal activity to authorities. “He has nothing to hide.”

Jeffries, who resigned under pressure earlier this year as assistant director of ticket operations, admitted to committing misprision, a felony punishable by up to three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a year of supervised release.

“I may order you to make restitution, in addition to any other penalty,” U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown told Jeffries, during a 55-minute-long hearing in U.S. District Court in Wichita.

“Yes, your honor,” Jeffries responded.

Sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 29. Haney says that his client should receive probation.

In his plea agreement, Jeffries has agreed to cooperate with authorities, whether that’s providing information to investigators, appearing before a grand jury or testifying in trials of others who may have been involved in criminal activity. Such cooperation has not yet been satisfied, Haney told the judge, reading from the plea agreement.

After the hearing, Haney declined to discuss his client’s future involvement, other that to say he’d be ready.

“I don’t know who else are going to be targets. We’re fairly low on the pay scale,” Haney said of Jeffries. “ Our knowledge is limited, but whatever we know, we’ll disclose. Where that leads, that’s the government’s job.”

Jeffries is one of five now-former Kansas Athletics employees who, along with a paid consultant, were singled out in KU’s internal investigation into irregularities involving tickets and the Williams Educational Fund, which is the department’s donor organization.

One of the former employees, Brandon Simmons, is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to the same misprision charge, also before Brown at federal court in Wichita. Simmons had been assistant athletics director for sales and marketing since December, and previously had worked in the ticket office since 2005.

Both Jeffries and Simmons resigned in April from Kansas Athletics, nearly a month after KU launched its internal investigation. Athletics Director Lew Perkins later said that he learned of the ticket problems in December from federal prosecutors, who requested that he not discuss the probe with anyone.

Perkins later asked Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to order the internal investigation, to be independent from but financed by Kansas Athletics.

The internal investigation covered regular-season tickets taken from 2005 to 2010, did not address postseason tickets for football and basketball.

Perkins and Gray-Little released results from the internal investigation May 26, and two weeks later Perkins announced that he would be retiring in September 2011.

Comments

Robert Rauktis 4 years, 5 months ago

"Misprision"...at least the KUAC has boosted my vocabulary. And they said they never did anything for higher education.

Kontum1972 4 years, 5 months ago

isnt this the dude who had floor seats for the cinema star?

Kontum1972 4 years, 5 months ago

isnt this the dude who had floor seats for the cinema star?

kessman 4 years, 5 months ago

these prks thought they were better than everyone at one time, now are low life scumsuckers.to bad the chief has not been caught yet,cleared my arse.

yankeevet 4 years, 5 months ago

Wonder how much time they will do; and will they have too pay all that money back?

Jim Williamson 4 years, 5 months ago

This guy won't do a day because he's agreed to roll over.

Tristan Moody 4 years, 5 months ago

Sort of on topic, but can any resident legal whatever explain why they have to plead not guilty before changing their plea a half-hour later? It seems a little strange to me, but that's nothing new.

blindrabbit 4 years, 5 months ago

The temperature is naturally high in Lawrence today, but I bet there is a lot of additional nervous sweating going on as well. How many other KUAD staff/Alums/Lawrence residents/Arkansas prison residents/ Pumps involved. Things a little dicey in the Folks Road neighborhood maybe!!

Tammy Copp-Barta 4 years, 5 months ago

Seriously .. a judge that is still serving at 103????

KEITHMILES05 4 years, 5 months ago

Exactly! 103 is a hell of a long time to be on the bench. Whew.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 5 months ago

How come the articles NEVER mention Roger Morningstar? I thought he was one of the 2 guys actually selling the tickets at the games? Although he wasnt an employee at KU from what I read he was as involved as the employees were.

jfan 4 years, 5 months ago

Jason Jeffries is a wonderful human being who was placed in a difficult situation. He made some poor decisions, and I'm confident that he regrets those decisions; however, he is human. Compared to what some of the other people involved have done, Jason's offense is minimal. I have worked with Jason, and I know firsthand that he is a hard-working, respectable man. Please do not publicly slam him and attempt to humiliate him; Jason is a great man, and he and his family deserve better than that.

mom_of_three 4 years, 5 months ago

I agree that his family deserved better than what he did. But he made a mistake, it is public, and there will be public criticism.

friendlyjhawk 4 years, 5 months ago

When wonderful human beings break the law, they are no long wonder human beings.

blindrabbit 4 years, 5 months ago

rooster: A Folks road resident methinkis.

Morganna 4 years, 5 months ago

JJ is a rolly polly - he would probably roll over on his mom if it got his butt out of a bad situation. He knows right from wrong and chose wrong. He will not be made to pay for his bad choices because he is a roller!!!!! Shame Shame!!!!!

Richard Payton 4 years, 5 months ago

How much did Lew pay for the Orange Bowl suite in Miami? Is that a KU perk? Post season sales not addressed yet why?

blindrabbit 4 years, 5 months ago

Orange Bowl: small spuds compared to Lew's appearance in Super Bowl suite with Manning. All of us did a "double take" on that one. One thing for sure: Lew is "connected".

mom_of_three 4 years, 5 months ago

Didn't Lew get to sit in the Superbowl suite with his connection with Gatorade or something like that? Something to do with a board?

Clickker 4 years, 5 months ago

56 tickets per year is pretty small potatoes.

Do they mean 56 SEASON tickets per year? That could get someones attention.

calwt262 4 years, 5 months ago

Telly Savalas and Shrek had a love child.....and they named that child Lew Perkins

oldexbeat 4 years, 5 months ago

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news;_ylt=ApZcRCtArrfUDiZNCHkfTrDevbYF?slug=ys-kutickets052610

re Roger -- David Freeman, a Lawrence real estate developer who said he participated in the scheme, told Yahoo! Sports that he, former Kansas director of ticket operations Rodney Jones and high-profile alum Roger Morningstar – the father of Jayhawks guard Brady Morningstar – were following the instructions of the Pump brothers when the trio made hundreds of thousands of dollars scalping tickets during the 2002 and 2003 NCAA tournaments.

4everahawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Clickker: 56 SEASON tickets. Around $200 grand was made on the tickets. The invoices to the broker were made public about a month ago in the LJW.

4everahawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Clickker: 56 SEASON tickets. Around $200 grand was made on the tickets. The invoices to the broker were made public about a month ago in the LJW.

Uhjh 4 years, 5 months ago

So a major ticket scandal and a blackmail that is puff not worth prosecuting. If I were truly a “victim” I would go after the perpetrator unless some dirty laundry might fall out. Lew be a good a soldier and fall on your sword NOW. Please don’t wait around and exploit KU for more money. You and your cronies have made plenty. If you think you are a victim then what do you think KU, the athletes and the fans are. You have lost all creditability. The high caliber position and salary means you have to be on top of things regardless or in fact you are incompetent as an AD period. Would you finally do something ethical and slither into the sunset. We did fine if not great with an interim AD and we just need don’t you anymore. Chancellor Gray-Little, just fire the jerk and get on with the business of KU, your new university. If you are afraid of Lew and possible law suits I would say ‘bring it on’.

Uhjh 4 years, 5 months ago

From the artical: University football and basketball tickets for personal gain — a scheme KU says involved at least 19,000 tickets and cost Kansas Athletics anywhere from $1 million to $3 million, likely more.
Not small time and the 56 a year for Jeffries for how many years? This a big time for sure.

BorderRuffian 4 years, 5 months ago

Hmmmm. Seems the authorities have enough to put Jeffries away for a good while. May not be major bucks, but 200K a year in theft ain't no small potatoes. That this guy will get a "get out of jail free card" is a pretty good indication that they already have some really, REALLY big fish to fry. Will this path lead straight to Lew Perkins's door? There's gotta be a pretty big fish in those murky waters...

Even if Lew is NOT implicated (and we all have a pretty good idea he is the big lunker they are angling after), oughtn't he be summarily terminated for allowing theft and fraud of this magnitude to take place on his watch? First he couldn't control Mangino, now he can't control his staff from massive theft? What's next, an affair with Willie the Wildcat?

oldexbeat 4 years, 5 months ago

May not be major bucks, but 200K a year

I would bet that 10,000s of criminal prisoners would be glad to get out, having been put in jail for much less than $200,000 that they stole.

Uhjh 4 years, 5 months ago

Lew should be let go and now. Who does that?

4everahawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Exhibit A, pg 43 - tickets sold per game to broker. 56 tickets per game, not 56 tickets for the whole season..........

oldexbeat 4 years, 5 months ago

One thought -- given that the Chancellor knows more than we do -- better that the IRS/FBI 'fire' Lew than that she has to hold the sword. ?? (Personally, I've written directly a long time a go to ask her to fire Lew...)

artlover 4 years, 5 months ago

When are those Earth, Wind and Fire tickets comin' in?

blindrabbit 4 years, 5 months ago

Update: 12:45 p.m. Just read on Yahoo, Brandon Simmons has also pleaded guilty to similar charges. He, like Jefferies has agreed to supply additional information. Blood pressures, like the temperature are on the rise in the Folks Road neighborhood.

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