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Archive for Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Charlette and Tom Blubaugh expected to plead guilty in KU ticket scandal case

January 18, 2011

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Former University of Kansas athletic department consultant, Thomas Ray Blubaugh, and his wife Charlette Blubaugh, left and center, leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse, in Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, after being arraigned on a charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors say the couple, along with others, are charged with stealing athletic tickets and scalping them for cash to ticket brokers and third parties outside the university totally $5 million.

Former University of Kansas athletic department consultant, Thomas Ray Blubaugh, and his wife Charlette Blubaugh, left and center, leave the U.S. Federal Courthouse, in Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, after being arraigned on a charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud. Prosecutors say the couple, along with others, are charged with stealing athletic tickets and scalping them for cash to ticket brokers and third parties outside the university totally $5 million.

Another former ticket manager for Kansas Athletics Inc. and her husband are set to plead guilty to a scheme that converted stolen basketball and football tickets into tax-free cash through sales by ticket brokers.

If Charlette and Tom Blubaugh admit their guilt next week as scheduled, only one defendant would remain in the case that has sent seven former department employees to face charges in federal court: Ben Kirtland, former associate athletics director for development, whose trial for conspiracy is scheduled to begin Feb. 15.

Charlette Blubaugh and her husband would join four other defendants who already have agreed to testify, if necessary.

“She’s just looking forward to getting this over with,” said John Rapp, one of Charlette Blubaugh’s attorneys.

The Blubaughs — Charlette, who had been an assistant athletics director, and Tom, who had been a paid consultant — are scheduled to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Charlette Blubaugh’s hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 27 before Judge Wesley Brown in U.S. District Court in Wichita, while Tom Blubaugh is scheduled to appear a day later.

Rapp said his client’s hearing would be similar to those conducted last week involving two other co-conspirators: Kassie Liebsch, who succeeded Charlette Blubaugh as ticket manager after several years as a systems analyst; and Rodney Jones, who had been an assistant athletics director in charge of the Williams Fund.

Liebsch and Jones admitted to taking part in a conspiracy to divert tickets from Kansas Athletics, then provide the tickets to brokers in exchange for cash while avoiding payment of taxes on the illegal proceeds.

As part of their plea agreements, Liebsch and Jones joined two other former coworkers — Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons, who earlier pleaded guilty to failing to disclose the scam — in agreeing to cooperate with authorities and testify against others.

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Comments

ralphralph 3 years, 2 months ago

Not surprised by the process ... roll 'em up, throw 'em in the bin. Usually, start with the one deemed least culpable, and roll them up against those deemed more culpable, until you reach the top (i.e., usually, the one who is the answer to: Without which one of these people would this not have happened?). I, too, was under the impression that Madame Blubaugh and/or Mister Jones would have been the answer to that question, and earned the place at the top. With everyone else rolled-up against you, you stand little chance at trial and even less chance at sentencing.

Mixed feelings on getting them all rolled up and locked away. A good, zealously litigated trial might go a long way towards shedding light on how this could happen within such a respected (?) organization, with such a masterful (?) head man as Lew. I think it would be informative for everyone to hear how a multi-million dollar operation was allowed to operate with no effect audit function. It has been my experience that if you catch the underlings in an organization gaming the system as a matter of business-as-usual, it flows from the same attitude and behavior at the top of the organization. The big dogs throw some ill-gotten bones to the little dogs, lest they yap.

So, maybe the last guy sees the handwriting and makes his deal, too, or maybe we get a public airing of more of the lurid details. If so ... does that lead anywhere else, or is the process already at the top? Are these the ringleaders, and there is no more "up" to roll up to?

FWIW, I'm thinking that a US Attorney is going to believe that everybody in every athletic ticket office at every college - from Podunk State to Elite U - is aware of this case and watching to see what happens. I would certainly want to send the message to all of them, that if you do as these folks did, you're going to Federal Prison (and losing your sweet wheels). I don't know if a judge would see it that way, but there is reason to think that, in a proverbial way, this gang of thieves ought to be hanged high for all to see ... by going to the Pen for some real time.

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missmagoo 3 years, 2 months ago

I guess I'm surprised that Kirtland hasn't changed his plea then too. I was under the impression that Rodney Jones was the ringleader, and Kirtland found out about it.. and Jones made him a deal to get in on it in exchange for his cooperation? So why all guilty pleas but Kirtland? He was the highest ranking official, but Charlette and Jones ran the whole thing pretty much. Interesting...

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billybob1 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't say this as fact, but the rumor is that Hathaway is out. If that is a fact then this is an attempt to clean things up before he goes. None of these people will get any time. It will be interesting to see what Kirkland does.

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JimmyJoeBob 3 years, 2 months ago

Carrie should have done what these people did and she would be out by now

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thesloss 3 years, 2 months ago

Was Liebsch the only one who had to give up her wheels?

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smot 3 years, 2 months ago

I am confused....haven't all the currently charged defendants changed their pleas to guilty in order to cooperate with authorities and testify against others. Just who are they going to be testifying against since they have all plead gulity?

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