Executives of a medical device company that loaned $15,000 worth of equipment to KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins did receive a substantial upgrade in seating at Allen Fieldhouse for the 2005-2006 season.
According to documents obtained by the Journal-World through a Kansas Open Records request, an executive of Medical Outfitters went from having four seats on the 24th row of an upper-level corner section in Allen Fieldhouse to having four seats on the seventh row of a mid-level section along the west side of the court.
In a letter to the Journal-World, the athletics department confirmed that the 2005-2006 seats assigned to Patrick Carpenter — an owner of Medical Outfitters — were somewhat better than what his points total in the Williams Educational Fund would have justified.
But athletic department leaders said the seating arrangement had nothing to do with Perkins’ free use of $15,000 worth of exercise equipment that was owned by Medical Outfitters.
Instead, Associate Athletics Director Jim Marchiony said the significant upgrade was related to a donation that Carpenter and Medical Outfitters made in 2004. Carpenter and the company donated to KU Athletics an electrical stimulation and ultrasound device valued at $6,190.
The donation, Marchiony said, should have been credited to Carpenter’s Williams Fund account prior to 2004-2005 seat assignments. But the donation was not credited to the account until the 2005-2006 season.
In essence, Carpenter should have been entitled to sit in better seats during the 2004-2005 season, but was not allowed to do so because of the clerical error. To rectify the error, Marchiony said Carpenter was issued seats that had been “held back in a section close to where he would have been seated if the points had been credited correctly.”
The following year — the 2006-2007 season — Carpenter was seated strictly on his points total. That resulted in Carpenter staying in the same section but being 15 rows higher in a spot near the top of the fieldhouse.
Marchiony said the way the situation was handled was consistent with how the department tries to rectify other clerical errors where people did not have a donation properly credited.
A probe earlier this month by Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s office acknowledged that Medical Outfitters received an upgrade in seats related to the $6,190 in-kind donation.
But the chancellor’s report left questions about how large the upgrade was and whether it was commensurate with the size of the donation. The Journal-World asked the chancellor’s office to reveal the exact locations of the seats in question, but the office declined to do so. It directed such inquires to the Athletic Department.
After an open records request was filed, the athletic department did reveal exact seat locations. In 2004-2005, Carpenter was assigned seats in section 2B, row 24, seats 17-20. In 2005-2006, he was assigned seats in section 18, row 7, seats 13-16. In 2006-2007, his seats were in section 18, row 22, seats 9-12.
The Chancellor’s report cleared Perkins of wrongdoing related to his use of the $15,000 worth of exercise equipment, which began in 2005. Perkins has reported the gift to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to determine whether he violated a state policy that prohibits public employees from accepting many types of gifts. Perkins has since attempted to pay the owners of the equipment $5,000 for the use of the equipment.
Carol Williams, executive director of the ethics commission, said she couldn’t confirm or deny any activity that her office may be investigating related to Perkins. The commission met earlier this week, and the Perkins issue was not acted on, she said.