Archive for Monday, August 27, 2012

Felon in KU tickets case asking for shorter prison sentence

August 27, 2012, 3:47 p.m. Updated August 27, 2012, 5:13 p.m.


The imprisoned former head of Kansas University’s Williams Fund alleges that he’s entitled to a shorter prison sentence because he claims federal prosecutors did not honor terms of his plea agreement in the case.

Rodney Dale Jones, 43, filed a motion on Aug. 23 from prison in El Reno, Okla., asking a judge to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence. U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown in March 2011 sentenced Jones to serve 46 months for his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a scheme to steal more than $2 million worth of KU football and basketball tickets and distribute them to brokers and others. Four former athletics employees and one consultant were sentenced to prison.

“The government failed to adhere to their commitment to file a (request for lesser sentence) in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea and for providing substantial assistance in investigating his co-conspirators,” Jones wrote in the motion.

Jones, who was the former leader of fundraising at Kansas Athletics Inc., alleges in the motion that his cooperation with federal authorities led directly to co-defendant Ben Kirtland, who served as associate athletic director for development from 2004 to April 2010, pleading guilty instead of going to trial. Kirtland is serving a 57-month prison sentence.

Jones also claims his assistance led to the indictment of co-defendant Kassie Liebsch, a former systems analyst who took over ticket operations at KU, in the case after she was initially exonerated in KU’s internal investigation. Prior to federal indictments in the case, KU officials in 2010 had the Wichita-based law firm Foulston Siefkin conduct the investigation without subpoena power.

Jones claimed in his new motion that his defense attorney, Gerald Handley, prevented him from cooperating with the internal investigation because prosecutors would later use it against him. But Jones maintained his cooperation later with federal authorities allowed them to broaden their case.

Jim Cross, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office, said Monday that prosecutors would reserve commenting on Jones’ allegations for court proceedings in the case.

Jones is the second defendant to make a request for a lesser sentence after Thomas Ray Blubaugh, who was an athletics department consultant and is also an El Reno inmate, earlier this year asked for U.S. District Judge Monti Belot to reduce his sentence from 46 months to 33 months. Blubaugh has not yet had a hearing on his request.

Unlike Blubaugh, Jones does not ask for a specific reduction in his sentence. However, Jones does argue that federal prosecutors failed to adhere to a commitment to recommend a lighter sentence and that his attorney made no effort to argue Jones was entitled to a reduction.

He also criticizes Handley, his defense attorney, and accuses Handley of failing “to pursue (the) government’s assurance (the) defendant would receive recommendation for probation in exchange for a plea agreement and cooperation in all matters.”

He appears to be relying on recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that put plea bargains under greater constitutional scrutiny, finding that convictions can be overturned if defense lawyers don’t adequately assist clients in deciding whether to accept such offers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Jones is scheduled to be released in September 2014, and Thomas Blubaugh’s projected release date is October 2014.

In a separate issue, Jones has a hearing scheduled for September in Wichita when U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale will hear arguments as prosecutors allege $100,000 worth of child support payments Jones made prior to his guilty plea were fraudulent based on the restitution Jones owes Kansas Athletics Inc., its insurance company and the Internal Revenue Service.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

They should let this cat go and make Lew Perkins serve the rest of his time.

I call BS on Perkins not even scratched when this happened under his watch.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

There is no way Perkins could not have known this was going on. Evidently you have never had a leadership position. I will guarentee you that the higher you get the more subordinates try to gain favor by snitching, living by the grapevine. If this was going on for 6 years and he, as well as the rest of the good ole boys club at the top did not know... well. I'll bet many of you even knew it was going on and you did not even work there. I have had upwards of 10 people tell me they could get KU tickets to any game I wanted. These people had entry level jobs and no connection to the university. They had connections to the underground. These underlings got caught, but the big fish got away with his golden parachute protected by someone who has not been named.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 10 months ago

I wholeheartedly agree with you on this issue. We may not always. Lew ran that place with an Iron fist, through Fear And Intimidation. No way he did not know.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 10 months ago

I agree with KRichard. Would have been chump change to him.I do not recall any one accusing him of being involved in the selling of or receiving cash for stolen tickets though. The allegation is that he HAD to know something was going on. Lew ran a tight ship. Hard to believe he did not know something was going on like this in his ranks.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

homechanger 5 years, 10 months ago

So he's a snitch but has not been given credit for being a snitch. Bummer.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

Rodney Jones. Another local guy that tried to build a million dollar home with proceeds from criminal activity.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 10 months ago

If your paid lawyer did a bad job for you, why should you get off early? Concentrate a getting time off for good behavior. Not sure why people plead guilty all the time, call their bluff.

windjammer 5 years, 10 months ago

Give him 12 more months for being a snitch. Low life scum.

AS 5 years, 10 months ago

You guys are all forgetting that these people wore suits and drove nice cars. These people wasn't hanging out in bar, clubs getting high ( in public) and have an education. These people were better then all of us! These people only stole 2 million so these people should only get 5 months! These people really pisses me off with all this damn crying!

Ryan Kruse 5 years, 10 months ago

Even better, LJWorld take this bulls??t commenting down so it's not even shown or make these anonymous stooges pay to hide their names. They are obviously ashamed to put the names their mothers gave them.

Ryan Kruse 5 years, 10 months ago

U commenters are so full of hot air! If Lew was guilty of something do you not think he would have been given up? Holy crickies, everyone else guilty got turned in! I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who ate a hotdog at the consessions stand at Band Day of Turner Gills first year who heard Lew knew! Well sh$t that's all I need to hear, guilty as charged in the Lawrence Gossip ring that is 4 yrs old. Move on

WaxAndWane 5 years, 10 months ago

Exactly. If Lew was involved, Rodney Jones and the Blubaughs would have implicated him in exchange for lesser sentencing from the very start. You can't reason with message board conspiracy nuts though.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 10 months ago

You obviously didn't work there, follow all the news releases or know Lew Perkins and saw him and his crew on a daily basis. Also, being involved and being aware of are two different things. I don't think anyone accused Lew of being involved.

Haiku_Cuckoo 5 years, 10 months ago

None of those convicted ever said that he was aware of their actions. That would have definitely come out during the investigation. Plus, at that level, awareness without taking corrective action would have constituted involvement.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 10 months ago

Then Lew Perkins is only guilty of being a Bad AD. Being Aware is a lot harder for a lawyer to prove than being actively involved.

rgh 5 years, 10 months ago

No way any of these worms should get out one day early!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.