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Posts Tagged ‘ticket scam’

Two things before leaving for our daughter’s graduation on Saturday from Knox College in Galesburg, IL. (Whoo-hoo!)

:: KU athletic director Lew Perkins says, “I’m the victim.”

What a joke.

Here’s the story in a nutshell. Perkins makes $900,000 a year, but he accepted a free loan of $15,000 to $35,000 in exercise equipment for four years in return for prime Allen Fieldhouse seats for the equipment provider.

Then, after the school’s former director of sports medicine threatened to go public with details of the swap unless he was compensated for the cost of storing the equipment the last year or so, Perkins went to the cops.

Not only was Perkins’ acceptance of the loan unethical, it was also illegal, in all probability. The law states that “no person subject to the provisions of this section shall solicit or accept any gift,economic opportunity, loan, gratuity, special discount or service provided because of such person’s official position.”

You know what gets me about situations like this? In many, many cases, those caught on the take are people who could whip out a check and write it for however much is needed to conduct an honest and above-board transaction. Perkins could write the check and forget about it, probably without even having to transfer funds from his brokerage to his checking account. 

But, no, he takes the freebie. I guess Perkins is so used to having people throw gratuities at him in return for low-down, center-section seats that he couldn’t push himself away from the table.

Low-down is the right term, all right. But now I’m not talking about seat location; I’m talking about Perkins’ morals. 

Last week, if you’ll recall, Perkins said, “I accept responsibility” (but not full responsibility) for a multi-million-dollar ticket scam that occurred under his nose. Now, the other shoe has fallen, and I don’t see any way that Perkins can survive. I say he’s gone by Independence Day.

:: Talk about victims.

How about the 25-year-old man and 21-year-old woman who were ambushed behind Charlie Hooper’s in Brookside last Friday morning? Two thugs beat the couple with handguns and kicked them mercilessly, even though the couple handed over their belongings.

The woman suffered a broken jaw and vertebra and three skull fractures. She was initially listed in critical condition. I don’t know what it is now, but from what I read on a KCTV-5 online story, she’s been able to communicate with police. 

The cowardice of the perps is infuriating. There was no reason whatsoever to harm the couple. And to kick and stomp on the woman? Two pieces of space junk named Durrell D. White and Andre D. Valentine have been charged. The victims identified their attackers from photo lineups, according to the KCTV- 5 story. 

I’ve been waking up early in the morning, thinking about this case, thinking mostly about the woman…a girl, really. Thinking about her parents, other relatives, friends, who have to suffer along with her. Thinking about my own, beautiful, 22-year-old daughter and how vulnerable she — and almost any other young woman — would be to such an attack. 

The unfairness of it and the inability of anyone to change what has already happened make me rage against fate…and a little bit against God. And yet, at the same time, I pray. Please, God, let both victims make complete recoveries; help them and their families to cope with the physical and psychological injuries they have suffered at the hands of  unthinking, unsympathetic individuals. I ask You, why does the world have to be like this? I ask You, don’t let anything like this happen again…And yet, I fear, I know, it will. Damn!

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So long, Lew

In the fourth entry of my career — way back in March — I called for Pope Benedict XVI to resign. I guess the pope didn’t get the message or he just ignored my call, as he ignored similar calls from Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, other columnists and commentators and a Massachusetts priest.

Today, I’m calling on KU athletic director Lew Perkins to resign, and I have to tell you I think the odds of Perkins resigning are a lot lower than the odds of the pope resigning. Back in the thick of the new priest sex-abuse revelations, an Irish bookmaker dropped the odds of the pope resigning from 12-1 to 3-1. Anybody who would make such a bet with the odds that low would be crazy.

With Perkins, though, I think the odds of him resigning are even money. (Personal disclosure here: I’m from Kentucky and did not attend KU, MU, K-State or any other Big 12 school.) If you can get odds of 2-1 or 3-1, jump on it. This might even be an “odds-on” situation. (Quick gambling primer here: Odds on means that if you bet a dollar, you get your dollar back but less than another dollar in actual winnings.)

At the track, I usually avoid making odds-on bets. (There’s on old track-side saying about  favorites that go off at 3 to 5, “If you’ve got the five, you don’t need the three.”) But in this case, I think I’d wager some money, even with “odds on.” Why? Well, look at the situation. Perkins either is a crook himself or he got taken by a bunch of crooked Okies, all but one of whom he either hired or promoted to jobs where they could slather themselves in illicit gains from the misappropriation of thousands of tickets to big-time athletic events.

It’s very clear that the ticket operation was run like a “candy store,” as the university’s internal report said, and it defies logic that six people, at least, who were involved in the high jinks would be able to give the impression that they were running a tight ship. So even if Lew wasn’t benefitting monetarily from the sale of tickets to brokers (also Okies), and even if he didn’t know exactly what was going on with the ticket operation, he had to know something was fishy. After all, one of the main duties of the guy (or gal) at the top of an organization is simply to watch your employees and to know what they are doing.

Did you notice, though, how Perkins tried to distance himself from the situation, even while accepting responsibility? He said, “I accept responsibility, not for any criminal activity, but because I am the athletic director and it happened during my watch.” Take a a closer look at that sentence. What key word is missing in the first phrase? “Full,” as in “I accept full responsibility.” Because if he had accepted full responsibility, as he should have, he would have to resign.

Look at the second part of the sentence…”it happened during my watch.” It’s a common, catch-all phrase that he would like to have people interpret this way: “It happened over there, while I was over here.” Again, if he had said, “The wrongdoing was perpetrated by people whom I hired and whom I oversee and whose job performance I evaluate,” well…..he’d have to resign, wouldn’t he?

Then, he went on to say something truly incredible: “I thought we had just about every safeguard in place, but nobody picked up on it. I certainly didn’t.”

It’s a good thing I didn’t have a mouthful of cookies when I read that, or the dogs would have been scampering all around the room. Safeguards? The Okies are probably the only people who had the combination to the ticket vault.

At this point, we just have to trust that the Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and members of the university’s board of trustees and major donors to the athletic program see through the smoke that Perkins blew far and wide on Wednesday and that they will come to the conclusion — if they haven’t already – that it’s time for Perkins to depart. Once that happens, they won’t have to fire him. He’ll leave.

And I believe they will come to that decision fairly quickly — at least by the time criminal charges are filed — and that will be the end of what is turning out to be a most disappointing and dishonorable era in KU athletics.

So, readers, get your bets down now. Don’t get shut out, as the railbirds say. With every day that passes, the odds are dropping.

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