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Archive for Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Director Lew Perkins needs to open up his eyes

May 26, 2010

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KU ticket investigation press conference

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little begins the conference, and Jack Focht of Foulston Siefkin discusses the report made of their investigation.

KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins was the last to leave a press conference at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday May 26, 2010. He and other KU officials and investigators talks about alleged violations in KU's ticket office that led to the diversion of $1 million or more from the university. Six employees were blamed and are no longer with the university.

KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins was the last to leave a press conference at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on Thursday May 26, 2010. He and other KU officials and investigators talks about alleged violations in KU's ticket office that led to the diversion of $1 million or more from the university. Six employees were blamed and are no longer with the university.

Kansas University officials and their attorney face a crowd of media as they discuss the findings of an investigation commissioned by KU into alleged misconduct in its ticket operations.

Kansas University officials and their attorney face a crowd of media as they discuss the findings of an investigation commissioned by KU into alleged misconduct in its ticket operations.

Attorney Jack Focht of Wichita law firm Foulston Siefkin explains a report on missing tickets his law firm generated at the request of KU. In the report, released Thursday May 26, 2010 at the Dole Institute of Politics, thousands of misdirected tickets and more than a million dollars diverted from KU.

Attorney Jack Focht of Wichita law firm Foulston Siefkin explains a report on missing tickets his law firm generated at the request of KU. In the report, released Thursday May 26, 2010 at the Dole Institute of Politics, thousands of misdirected tickets and more than a million dollars diverted from KU.

Lew Perkins, KU Athletic Director, prepares to take questions from members of the media after a report detailing improprieties in its ticket office was released to the public Wednesday afternoon. In the report, six employees of Kansas Athletics are described as taking part in a scheme to divert tickets and funds to their own benefit and away from KU.

Lew Perkins, KU Athletic Director, prepares to take questions from members of the media after a report detailing improprieties in its ticket office was released to the public Wednesday afternoon. In the report, six employees of Kansas Athletics are described as taking part in a scheme to divert tickets and funds to their own benefit and away from KU.

Related document

Supporting exhibits for KU's investigation ( .PDF )

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Wednesday morning broke with a report from yahoo.com that revealed David Freeman started singing about the origins of the ticket scandal back in 2006 to a reporter now working for Yahoo.

That reporter is Jason King. Freeman told King then what he told federal authorities late in 2009, that Rodney Jones of the Williams Fund was among those selling 2002 Final Four tickets to brokers and pocketing the cash. King, then working at the Kansas City Star, wasn’t able to get anyone to confirm the story. Since newspapers aren’t in the business of giving a forum to a convicted criminal to make accusations that can’t be verified, the story never saw print.

I wanted to know Wednesday whether King had taken Freeman’s accusations to either athletic director Lew Perkins or his spokesman, Jim Marchiony, back in 2006. Had King answered in the affirmative, I was going to begin typing Perkins’ career obituary.

“You can’t just give an open mike to one guy,” King said. “You have to back the story up. We weren’t able to do that. We didn’t talk to Lew because all the information Freeman gave us happened at a time before Lew was at Kansas. Talking to Lew was going to be our last stop.”

If Perkins had known about the accusations, didn’t launch an investigation and allowed Jones to continue working with tickets, he would have been complicit in the current scandal.

“Jason never made a comment to me, period,” Perkins said. “We would have looked into it right away. We would have jumped all over it.”

Had that occurred, the current scandal, which stretched from 2005 to 2010, would have been exposed much earlier.

The story gained credibility late last year, when Freeman sang to the feds in an attempt to ease his sentence for a bribery charge. So in a very twisted way, the real hero here is Freeman, a guy convicted of drug charges decades ago and who next month is scheduled to begin serving an 18-month prison term for bribery. Without Freeman ratting out Jones, one of the six former employees identified in the report as cashing in on the ticket scam, the thefts still would be going strong. Based on the way it expanded through the years, it would be getting bigger, not smaller.

The Wichita law firm, Foulston Siefkin LLP, that KU hired to investigate the scandal, did a remarkably thorough job considering it didn’t have the power to force anyone to talk. The feds have that subpoena power, so look for more fireworks when they are finished sweating people.

Not that the law firm’s report didn’t have plenty of sizzle. Here’s how out of control the ticket stealing grew, according to the report: Charlette Blubaugh gave permission to underlings Brandon Simmons and Jason Jeffries to take four extra season tickets, on top of the two complimentary ones they were allowed as employees. The number of tickets escalated from six to 56 in the final two years. Unbelievable.

Perkins, no micro-manager, said he was thrown a curveball and missed it. Had he been watching more closely, he would have realized it was a fastball right down the middle. People he trusted too completely brought national embarrassment to his department and the university. Now Perkins is batting with two strikes.

Comments

JimmyJoeBob 4 years, 7 months ago

"The real hero here is Freeman" That is a real joke. Why do newspaper men like to put criminals on a pedestal. They have been doing it since the days of Jessie James. The real heros are the people in Law Enforcement who put the screws to Freeman and got him to squeal like the pig he is. Freeman had no plans on doing anything heroic until long after he was caught and headed to prison. Wake up Keegan

cowboy 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm not a fan of Big Lew. I have never liked the feel or process that his admin has brought to KU nor do I see any real positive benefits as a result of his admin.

His lack of oversight , or disinterest in in being up to his elbows in running KUAC brings responsibility directly to his doorstep. One should know what the optimum potential revenue is from an inventory. If that is not achieved from each product category i.e. game , program , there should be flags going off. There is no excuse. He reminds me of the sales manager who cares only about sales numbers with complete disregard of profitability. I have met many of those in my time.

His accomplishments to date involve money , only money. He has hired no winners , continuously embarrassed the university with his staff's snarky approach to the general Kansas public. Having cast away many long time donors and ticket holders in search of more money he has sold KU sports to the highest bidder. while counting his own money and that of his family and friends he allowed the snakes to get into the shed and start killing the chickens.

The press conference was pathetic. Seemed to me the entire purpose was to put this to bed. We found everybody and fired them so lets move on. I for one am not ready to move on. Lew , you have failed , you need to move on , take your staff with you and let KU hire some integrity to replace you.

tophawk87 4 years, 7 months ago

Lew needs to "step down" so KU can move forward and start the healing process. If he remains we have zero credibility...

cowboy 4 years, 7 months ago

Lew did not hire Self ! Lew hired Bonnie , Lew hired Turner.

brett conrad 4 years, 7 months ago

Dear Keegan, TO even mention freeman and hero in the same sentence is a slap in the face to all hard working HONEST sub contractors that were stiffed by the scumbag, thieving, blowhard convicted felon. For a guy that made all this money you would think he could pay his bills. Anyone that knows him would tell you he is the king of bulls##t. Maybe its time for you to open up your eyes along with Lew.

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