Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former KU AD Lew Perkins fined $4,000 over exercise equipment allegation

Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission Chairwoman Sabrina Standifer says Lew Perkins' ethics case helps state employees and the public know that gifts are banned related to an employees' position.

January 25, 2011, 2:17 p.m. Updated January 25, 2011, 5:23 p.m.

Advertisement

 Attorney Todd Thompson on Tuesday gives reporters a prepared statement from former KU athletics director Lew Perkins. Perkins and the Kansas governmental ethics commission resolved an ethics complaint against Perkins relating to his use of exercise equipment. He was fined $4,000, but admitted no wrong-doing.

Attorney Todd Thompson on Tuesday gives reporters a prepared statement from former KU athletics director Lew Perkins. Perkins and the Kansas governmental ethics commission resolved an ethics complaint against Perkins relating to his use of exercise equipment. He was fined $4,000, but admitted no wrong-doing.

— Former Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins on Tuesday was fined $4,000 for violating a ban on gifts to state officials by accepting free exercise equipment.

But under an agreement with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, Perkins admitted no liability or any intent to violate the law.

“I regret that this matter may have detracted from the attention given to our athletes, as my objective has always been to enhance the programs, facilities and the overall collegiate experience for all of KU's student athletes,” Perkins said in a statement distributed to the media by his attorney Todd Thompson.

Perkins, who resigned in September, also said: “It is time for closure and to move on, and I am glad to have this matter fully and finally resolved.”

Ethics Commission Chairwoman Sabrina Standifer of Wichita said the resolution of the case was in the best interests of everyone concerned. She noted that Perkins self-reported the issue to the commission, cooperated fully with the investigation and returned the equipment.

A payment by Perkins, and no admission of intentionally violating the law, avoided potentially costly and protracted litigation, she said. According to the agreement, Perkins has seven days to pay the fine.

"I think it's important to show that state employees are not receiving benefits because of their position, and it's important for the public to know that there are consequences if that does occur,” Standifer said.

The ethics complaint alleged that in 2005, then-Athletic Director Perkins accepted at no cost exercise equipment from Medical Outfitters, a now-defunct Lenexa company. The equipment remained in his home until 2009.

Perkins was considered a state employee because part of his salary came from taxpayers. State law prohibits gifts to state agencies, state officers and employees, and candidates for state office.

The complaint originally had a second count that alleged Perkins asked for and received free physical therapy sessions from employees of the KU department of sports medicine.

But that was dropped. Ethics Commission General Counsel Judy Moler said witness statements were not strong enough to pursue the matter.

Moler and Perkins' attorney Thompson agreed to a consent decree, finding of facts and report that they had worked out before the commission's meeting on Tuesday.

The consent decree states that it is a “compromise of a disputed claim; the payment made is not an admission of liability on the part of the Respondent (Perkins) and, in fact, Respondent maintains his innocence.”

Appearing briefly before the commission, Thompson said he had no statement, but noted that Perkins self-reported and made a $5,000 payment for the equipment. But later Standifer said it was unknown if that payment was actually made.

After Moler presented the consent decree, the commission went into a closed-door session for about 10 minutes.

When members returned to open session, Commissioner Mark Simpson made a motion to fine Perkins the maximum $5,000, but that failed on a 4-5 vote. A motion was then made for a $4,000 fine and that was approved.

Commissioner John Solbach said he believed the maximum was too much but that a $4,000 fine “indicates this is a serious manner.”

The controversy surrounding the exercise equipment was one of several that plagued Perkins last year.

The school was rocked by a scam uncovered by authorities that football and basketball tickets were allegedly sold by staff members who pocketed the money. An audit said the school could have lost upwards of $3 million. Six former athletics department employees and a former department consultant have been charged. Four of the former employees have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme. And two other defendants are slated for plea hearings this week.

Perkins was not implicated but he admitted to having been guilty of poor oversight.

Shortly after that hit the news, Perkins was accused by 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 said he 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, 2010, he announced he was stepping down immediately.

Comments

MacHeath 3 years, 2 months ago

Perkins took some exercise equipment for free, from a vendor. He got ratted out. He retired. He payed a fine. 'Thats all there is too it. Good grief folks! This was a minor ethical violation....Thats all!

0

Justice2011 3 years, 2 months ago

Since the beginning of the men's basketball season, John Lungstrum, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Kansas, has sat courtside with Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins. The two often can be seen in the background during televised games, Lungstrum wearing his lucky blue KU sweater.

"He's there as my guest," Perkins said. "We're friends, and we enjoy talking basketball with each other."

Said Lungstrum, "I guess I'm just a lucky guy, is basically what it amounts to."

The two met at a party a couple years ago, Lungstrum said. At the time, Perkins' daughter, Holly, was considering going to law school.

"He called me and said, 'You're the only person I know on the law school faculty. Would you mind talking to my daughter about law school?'" Lungstrum said. "I said I'll be happy to. ... That was the beginning of our having more than just a casual acquaintance."

Perkins' daughter ended up going to KU law and this year has a for-credit internship working in Lungstrum's chambers in Kansas City, Kan.

Lungstrum, a member of the Williams Fund, holds four season tickets.

During the summer, Perkins asked Lungstrum to come and sit courtside with him. Lungstrum said he was able to accept the offer in part because of his long-standing policy to not hear any cases related to KU.

"I never have taken KU cases because I'm on the faculty. I am conflicted out of any litigation that would involve the University of Kansas," he said. "If that were not the case, I probably would have declined Lew's offer to sit there because I recognize that I'm fairly visible sitting down there."

Lungstrum, who grew up in Lawrence and came back in the early 1970s, is a Yale graduate who was in the Yale Political Union with John Kerry and was a classmate of former New York Gov. George Pataki. John Lungstrum, left, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Kansas, sits courtside with Kansas University Athletics Director Lew Perkins during Saturday's men's basketball game against University of Texas.

Photo by Nick Krug

John Lungstrum, left, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Kansas, sits courtside with Kansas University Athletics Director Lew Perkins during Saturday's men's basketball game against University of Texas.

0

ksriver2010 3 years, 2 months ago

Jail is more appropriate for Perkins.

One charge is that it should be illegal what he did to ruin KU football.

0

texburgh 3 years, 2 months ago

“As the consent decree states, I never acted with any intent to violate any laws or ethical rules,” Perkins said.

I'm sure he went on to say that on his salary he could not afford to go down to Sears and buy a treadmill himself.

0

JustNoticed 3 years, 2 months ago

business card:

Scumbag? Call me!! Todd Thompson attorney

0

Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

Not really, Frightwig.

The appearance was even discussed by hizzonner in the article and I quote: "During the summer, Perkins asked Lungstrum to come and sit courtside with him. Lungstrum said he was able to accept the offer in part because of his long-standing policy to not hear any cases related to KU.

"I never have taken KU cases because I'm on the faculty. I am conflicted out of any litigation that would involve the University of Kansas," he said. "If that were not the case, I probably would have declined Lew's offer to sit there because I recognize that I'm fairly visible sitting down there."

Clearly, hizzonner was hizzonnering. A Bush appointee....from and in Kansas. It's just all so strange. Go figure.

0

Frightwig 3 years, 2 months ago

If it's unethical to sit next to a friend at a sporting event then there's a lot of unethical people at every game. A buddy of mine invited me to a Chiefs game and I accepted. Did I return the favor? Yes. I bought him a couple beers and fixed the brakes on his car the following week. I'm guilty. Where do I turn myself in? In all seriousness, you guys are making fools of yourselves for even debating this.

0

Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

and here is the link that Justice2001 was trying to post:

A Bush boy. Strange for Kansas. Yup. Mighty strange.....

0

Agnostick 3 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree with kansasredlegs on this one. No matter how you slice it, I can't shake the feeling that Lew knowingly took a gamble and broke the law... knowing full well that even if he got busted, he'd still make a decent little profit in the end.

0

BobtheBuilder 3 years, 2 months ago

Lungstrom is not a fair and honest man. If he was he would not have sat next to Perkins at the basketball games. Every lawyer in this area thinks it was unethical for him to sit there. If he was a fair man, he would have claimed the benefit on his income taxes. People sitting right behind him were paying over $50,000.00 per year to KU for the right to have those seats. Therefore, Lungstrom should have claimed an additional $50,000.00 of income for taking that seat. He probably had some of his friends getting free tickets from Rodney Jones as well. What a joke this $4,000.00 fine is.

0

Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

You mean like how fair and honest Spiro Agnew or Rod Blagojevich claimed to be?

0

ok 3 years, 2 months ago

Judge Lungstrum is a wonderful man. Fair and honest. He was friends with Perkins, yes and helped coach his daughter through law school. Something we would have done for any of his friends. He also attended games with his friend. End of story. There is no way he would have done anything illegal or shielded Perkins or the seating issues from anything. His career and integrity is worth more. He is a good man and to insinuate anything else is ridiculous.

0

hammerhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Finally. The crook got his. Only thing, $4000 to sweet lew is about $2 to him. Fie on him and his ilk. This whole lew episode at my alma mater has really, really soured me. I think he got off way, way to easy.

0

LeBo 3 years, 2 months ago

You still did a great job! Lew your only mistake was cancelling Wichita State Football!

0

Justice2011 3 years, 2 months ago

Perkins article: http://www.polsinelli.com/hperkins/ Former KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins daughter, Holly Perkins worked for Judge Lungstrum in the U. S. District Court. A recent LJ World story tells how Lungstrum coached Holly Perkins through law school. Judge Lungstrum was the envy of 16,000 KU fans in Allen Field House where for over one hundred games over 4 years the Federal Judge provided a visible shield to the seating scandal where he knowingly or giving Judge Lungstrum the benefit of the doubt, unknowingly held off seating questions while he enjoyed a court side seat at the KU Basketball games sitting with KU AD Lew Perkins.See LJWorld article. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/mar... This Lawrence Journal World Article and Photo details how Judge Lungstrum coached Perkins’ Daughter Holly through Law school, granted her an externship better positioning her for a political law firm Polsinelli in Kansas City. The Lawrence Shelter is now a client of Holly Perkins according to attached cite. Look at it! Good Allen Field House seats too. Is Lungstrum really going to bring Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Allen Field House on Saturday night. Talk about roping the goat to cover your transgressions. The Godfather has taught them well? They all just say we are jealous. They are exactly right, 16,000 fans per game are jealous of Judge John Lungstrum where he has appeared with his nose in the air for over 100 games and 4 years along with 5 indicted KU ticket scandal types with guilty pleas and Perkins now charged with ethics violations. Perhaps we will soon see what and who else. Is he ashamed? Probably not, just arrogant. Arrogance sure comes through in the news articles. "Judge Enjoys Courtside Company." Do we dare take a chance on leaving him in in office without bringing this up to the proper people?

0

Alceste 3 years, 2 months ago

One political hack defends another type of hack. Business as usual. shrug

0

Robert Rauktis 3 years, 2 months ago

Public official? But I thought Kansas Athletics, Inc. was a private institution. Ohhh....that's the POINT. They are NEVER quite accountable. Always something else.

And they preach accountability at their "student-athletes".

I wonder what Dickie V. and sports Pravda will do with the party lines now?

0

MacHeath 3 years, 2 months ago

What is it that you wanted the ethics commission to do? There is no evidence I have seen, other than the word of Dent, that any favors were given for the use of the equipment. This is an ethics violation by a former KU official. Its not a crime. What sort of punishment do you think the ethics commission can dole out for an ethics violation of this nature?

0

Kirk Larson 3 years, 2 months ago

Four thousand dollars! That's gotta hurt...not.

0

kansasredlegs 3 years, 2 months ago

What a joke. The Ethics Commission should be embarrassed. Let's see, public official Lew accepted, received & utilized 'free' equipment (regardless of reason). The transaction becomse public at some point, so Lew tries to pay $5K to a 'defunct' company (check never cashed) for the use of said equipment. Ethics Commission comes along and 'fines' him $4K. So Big Lew got the use of the equipment he valued at $5K for the price of a $4K fine.

Makes sense to me, not.

Good job Mr. Thompson. You were certainly worth your money, unlike that State-employee Kansas Solicitor McAllister who provided horrendous legal (public relation) advice to Big Lew when this issue first came to light.

0

LinksOK 3 years, 2 months ago

Another great job from Doug Compton s lawyer. Thanks for paying the rent. See you Saturday: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/mar/04/judge_enjoys_courtside_company/?print Go Jayhawks! http://www.polsinelli.com/hperkins/

0

lonely_is_an_eyesore 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad this is no longer being dragged out. Using tax dollars to investigate the improper handling of an exercise bike is a waste of money, especially when budget issues are forcing state employees to take pay cuts. Let's move on.

0

irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

i miss the t shirt guy more than i miss Lew.

0

Clark Coan 3 years, 2 months ago

Despite the minuscule fine, it's the principle of the thing (ruling)--that no man is above the law. He can no longer say he was completely innocent.

0

1029 3 years, 2 months ago

Word on the street is that Lew was able to settle his debt within minutes of the ruling. He had $2500 in his wallet, came up with another $1400 when he counted the wadded up 50s and 100s in his pockets, and then found enough 20s and 10s underneath the floor mats in his car to come up with the last $100.

0

yankeevet 3 years, 2 months ago

4 thousand? lol...may as well been 4 bucks for him..............

0

Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 2 months ago

How about "No contest" plea there Lew.

Whatever happened to 'ignorance of the law was no excuse'?

I guess we'll never know now what Lew knew before he flew.....

0

macon47 3 years, 2 months ago

4 grand is chump change to lew guess who the real chumps are?

0

cheeseburger 3 years, 2 months ago

And instead of being embarrassed for himself and the university, I bet he's sitting at home laughing while writing the check for $4K. Good riddance, Lew!

0

Ricky_Vaughn 3 years, 2 months ago

Poor ignorant Lew...what a joke!

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.