Archive for Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Former KU athletics ticket consultant asks judge for a sentence of no more than 21 months in prison

April 6, 2011, 2:40 p.m. Updated April 6, 2011, 5:33 p.m.


— A former consultant for the University of Kansas asked a federal judge on Wednesday to sentence him to no more than 21 months in prison for his part in a $2 million ticket scalping scandal that has already sent two other conspirators to prison for longer terms.

Thomas Blubaugh of Medford, Okla., pleaded in a court filing for leniency when he is sentenced Monday, citing his poor health, his young children and his cooperation with authorities. He is seeking a sentence below the advisory guideline range of 33 months to 41 months.

In his filing, Blubaugh said he does not dispute a recommendation in the pre-sentence investigation report that he make restitution of $841,111, the losses he argued are attributable to him and his wife. But he does not want to be held responsible for the thefts and sales of tickets by other conspirators.

Seven people, including Blubaugh's wife Charlette Blubaugh, have been snared in the investigation into the unlawful sale of football and basketball season tickets by key athletics department officials to ticket brokers and others in which the employees pocketed the money. All pleaded guilty.

Thomas Blubaugh, 46, pleaded guilty in January to a single count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through wire fraud, tax obstruction and interstate transportation of stolen property.

As a consultant to the ticket office, Thomas Blubaugh was on the payroll from August 2007 until January 2010 at a cost of $115,000 to Kansas Athletics Inc., a nonprofit that promotes Kansas athletics. He was previously the director of athletic ticket operations at the University of Oklahoma.

In his plea agreement, Thomas Blubaugh admitted he paid travel expenses for an intermediary who marketed the stolen tickets through brokers in Oklahoma. He also acknowledged he used deception to keep others from tracing the tickets back to him by using third parties not connected to the ticket office to sell them to individuals and brokers. He also admitted concealing the proceeds on tax returns.

Charlette Blubaugh, then the associate athletic director at the University of Kansas, was in charge of the ticket office. She has admitted that she began stealing tickets in 2005, giving them to other employees to sell to third parties in violation of university policy. She will be sentenced on April 14.

In seeking a more lenient sentence, Thomas Blubaugh argued in his latest filing that the court should consider that the couple has two children together, ages 6 and 5. Charlette Blubaugh also has two children from a previous marriage who live with their father and visit the Blubaughs every other weekend.

He asked the court to take into account his family situation and either give him a lesser sentence than was recommended or allow his wife to stay out of prison until he has completed his sentence so that one parent can care for their children. He told the court that he and his wife have agreed that, if the court allows it, he should serve his sentence first.

The former consultant also asked the court to consider his cooperation with authorities, noting that as recently as two weeks ago he assisted Internal Revenue Service agents in retrieving tickets for sporting events that had passed, so-called deadwood files, which were in his storage unit in Lenexa.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown gave probation to two university officials who cooperated early with an internal investigation and with federal prosecutors. Brandon Simmons, the school's former athletic director of sales and marketing, and Jason Jeffries, the former assistant director of ticket operations, had been charged with failing to tell authorities about the scheme.

The Blubaughs and three others were charged with conspiracy, a more serious crime carrying stiffer potential sentences.

Kassie Liebsch, the former systems analyst at the ticket office, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Former assistant athletics director Rodney Jones received a 46-month prison sentence. In handing down those prison sentences, Brown cited the length of the conspiracy and the harm it caused to the university.

Former associate athletic director of development Ben Kirtland is set for sentencing in May.


countrygal07 6 years, 11 months ago

Come on... Asking the judge to do the time seperate so 1 of the parent is home with the children. They knew they what they was doing was illegal and should have been thinking about the children all long. Hope the judge refuses the request. If 2 parent were to rob a bank, do u really think the judge would agree to let the parents take turns in serving the sentence ? Hell no.

newmedia 6 years, 11 months ago

If you can't do the time da,da,da,da,da,da!

Steve Jacob 6 years, 11 months ago

I can kind of understand parents doing time at different times, but not the less time for health issues. Guessing 37 months (Liebsch) is the minimum and 46 months (Jones) is the max, and everyone else falls in between.

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

he should of thought about that before he got involved in the ripp's a thought ,put him and rodney in the same cell..they can work it out between them.

I think mb the IRS will seize your property....

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

It isn't unheard of to stagger parental terms. That "Blimp Boy" case out of Colorado had one parent serving at a time due to parental concerns.

John Hamm 6 years, 11 months ago

WIMP! "If you can't do the time don't do the crime." No sympathy.

2002 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes, this makes a lot of sense. It would be so valuable to the kids to have one of their dishonest, cheating criminal parents to raise them in the family business. That is quality time.

If this guy cared so much about his kids, he wouldn't have risked jail time stealing.

I think they should give him an extra year just for asking.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 11 months ago

Did his "poor health" prevent this heinous crime against the trust and dignity of the people? I think not.

He has taught his kids that its okay to steal from the People of the State of Kansas. Take them away.

2002 6 years, 11 months ago

On second thought, maybe this guy could pay back what he stole sooner if they let him do Louis Anderson impressions for money in Indian casinos and at state fairs.

missmagoo 6 years, 11 months ago

Given their ages I wouldn't be surprised if the grandparents are too old to care for young children.

Bad health + criminal parents + young kids = bad situation

hip_gma 6 years, 11 months ago

I hope the judge tells them both "cry me a frickin' river!"

Uhjh 6 years, 11 months ago

I think he deserves more time - he would still be doing it if not for a snitch. Boohoo buddy a lot of prisoners have health issues and families. He should have thought of want would happen to him and those around him when he committed the crime!

LHS56 6 years, 11 months ago

Ony took $881,000 and expects to only serve 21 months? How about 21 years! What an example to set for others. I'm sure there are many others in prison that have children left behind at home. He and his wife were not role models for their children. Well....maybe 21 years is too much. How about a day for each dollar stolen and in a cell with Bubba.

bluerose 6 years, 11 months ago

funny the things people think about after they get caught.

lock 'em up! it looks like some reduced rations and the exercise yard might be good for the folks.

nepenthe 6 years, 11 months ago

Your crime is time, sir. I hope the judge rolls his eyes and then sentences you according to what's right, not what's right for you.

Richard Payton 6 years, 11 months ago

Does the federal marshalls take him to the federal pen as soon as sentence is read by the Judge?

ksgardener 6 years, 11 months ago

The man was a consultant to the ticket office, was paid to consult in its operation only to participate stealing? Seems like he needs to repay his fees to Athletics as well as serve time for tax evasion, theft etc. They have infirmaries in prison and the kids can visit on visiting day with Auntie or Grandma.

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

question...did they have this problem before Lew showed up on the scene....?

akt2 6 years, 11 months ago

I thought white collar criminals went to minimum security facilities. Maybe a little nicer than your average penitentiary. I am sorry for the kids though. Once it's all over and everyone moves out of Kansas it might not be so bad though. The rest of the world probably doesn't care.

HogJiver 6 years, 11 months ago

Now I know why my relatives had to pay so much to the Williams Fund to keep their seats that they've had for the past 50 years +. Because of the greedy pigs working in the KU Athletic Department. Give the blimp 20 years.

AS 6 years, 11 months ago

This (MF) is crazy....He decide on a course of action when he robbed the ticket office now he wants to decide on how he spents his time in jail! Why don't he just call ahead to the jail and ask for a dinner menu... This low life should get 41 months just by asking this of the judge!!

friendlyjhawk 6 years, 11 months ago

He and his wife are thieves. Do the time. Those poor children are embarassed enough. When they look back on their parents they will certainly find nothing to be proud of. And for those of you who want to say "but they loved their children and were good parents" shut up. Good parents don't steal and defraud.

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