Ethics Commission to consider complaint against former KU AD Lew Perkins
Topeka ? Former Kansas University Athletics Director Lew Perkins faces an ethics complaint for allegedly violating a law that bans gifts to state officials by accepting free exercise equipment and physical therapy sessions.
The complaint, filed by an investigator with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission and disclosed Tuesday, will be considered during a public hearing Nov. 16 by the nine-member commission.
Neither Perkins, who retired in a surprise move last month, nor Stephen McAllister, an attorney who has represented Perkins in the past on this matter, returned phone calls seeking comment. KU and the Athletics Department declined to comment.
In earlier comments, Perkins had stated through a spokesman that he did nothing wrong in accepting the equipment, and that he reported the issue to the ethics commission to make sure everything was above-board.
Ethics commissioners made no comment on the case after a closed-door session Tuesday. They scheduled a hearing on the matter and then released a copy of the complaint.
The complaint includes two counts.
The first one alleges that in 2005, Perkins, as athletics director at KU, accepted at no cost exercise equipment from Medical Outfitters, a now defunct Lenexa company. The equipment remained in his home until 2009, the complaint states.
Under the second count, the state alleges that in 2005, Perkins requested and received physical therapy sessions from employees with the KU Department of Sports Medicine. Both counts allege violations of the state ban on gifts to state agencies, state officers, and employees and candidates for state office.
Perkins received a portion of his salary from state funds.
Violations of the law carry a range of fines from $5,000 for the first violation to $10,000 for the second, and $15,000 for the third and subsequent violations.
The controversy surrounding the exercise equipment was one of several that beset Perkins, 65, over the past year.
The school was rocked by an investigation into a tickets-for-profit scam allegedly run by a handful of members of Perkins’ staff.
Perkins was not implicated but he admitted to having been guilty of poor oversight. Authorities allege that football and basketball tickets were sold by staff members who pocketed the money. An audit said the school could have lost upwards of $3 million.
Shortly after that hit the news, Perkins was accused by a former staff member — William Dent — of accepting use of the exercise equipment in his home in exchange for giving the company’s owners access to premium men’s basketball tickets. Perkins and the company’s co-owner denied the allegation.
Prior to the accusation, Perkins had filed a report with Lawrence police saying he was being blackmailed by Dent over the equipment.
Perkins later wrote a check for $5,000 for use of the equipment. In June, an internal review by KU found “no evidence” to substantiate Dent’s claims.
Perkins had announced he would retire in September 2011 but on Sept. 7 he announced he was stepping down immediately.