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Originally published June 1, 2010 at 03:39p.m., updated June 1, 2010 at 04:10p.m.

Questions arise whether Lew Perkins violated state ethics law by accepting ‘loan’ of exercise equipment

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Questions are arising whether Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins violated a state ethics law that prohibits government employees from accepting many types of loans or gifts.

KU athletic director may have violated law

Lew Perkins may have violated a state ethics law connected with his blackmail case. The penalties for law violation include grounds for job termination as well as a possible $5,000 fine.

Because a portion of Perkins’ salary is paid using state funds, he likely is subject to a state law that places restrictions on what types of items he can receive from the public, said Carol Williams, the director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.

The questions have emerged after the former co-owner of a medical equipment company said he “loaned” Perkins about $15,000 worth of exercise equipment at no cost to Perkins.

Williams declined to specifically address Perkins’ situation because her office would be responsible for any investigation into whether Perkins had violated the state law. But Williams said individuals who receive even a portion of their salary from state funds likely are covered by the law.

In 2009 — when Perkins allegedly had the equipment in his possession — he received $194,011 of his $900,000 salary from state funds, according to a previous statement from KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz.

Williams said that “generically speaking” a person receiving nearly $195,000 in compensation from state funds would be subject to the state law. She said the law has a clear purpose.

“The rationale behind the statute being enacted in 1997 at the request of Governor Graves is he wanted state employees to be above reproach, and to give citizens a secure feeling that state employees are working for the citizens’ best interests,” Williams said.

The state law specifies that violating the ethics provisions is grounds for termination, although that decision is left up to the supervisor of the employee. The law also allows for the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to fine an employee up to $5,000 for violating the provisions.

A key provision of the law — KSA 46-237a — states “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.”

Citing department policy, Williams declined to comment whether her office would launch an investigation into the matter.

Perkins, when reached Tuesday during a break at the Big 12 Conference meetings in Kansas City, Mo., said he could not discuss the matter and referred questions to his attorney.

“I’m the victim here,” Perkins said. “The facts are not what they appear. When I have the ability to talk, I will.”

Perkins’ attorney Steve McAllister said Perkins does not believe he has violated the ethics law but has asked the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to investigate the matter.

“Mr. Perkins would just rather make sure everything is above board, and so that already has been reported over there,” McAllister said. “We have referred it to them and it is in their hands.”

Allegations of Perkins being loaned exercise equipment came to light after Perkins filed a police report alleging that a former athletic department staff member was blackmailing him over the matter. That former employee, William Dent, has since alleged in a published report in the Topeka Capital-Journal, that Perkins helped the owners of the equipment company secure premium men’s basketball tickets.

Mark Glass, a co-owner of the former Medical Outfitters company, has denied those allegations, and said his company did not seek or receive special consideration for KU basketball tickets.

Journal-World reporter Mark Fagan and sports editor Tom Keegan contributed to this report.

Comments

Kevin Kelly 3 years, 10 months ago

Two questions I keep asking the public. Questions Lew needs to consider before his whole 'I'll talk when I can' bit....

What kind of equipment would you be able to buy yourself with 900k a year?

When was the last time you had anything 'installed' in your home which you did not know for sure who 'owned' it?

Let me sum up for you what just happened in the last year from a laymen's point of view:

Some student athelete was upset that another student athelete was dating his ex and got half the school into a rumble. This embarrassed Mangino who took his usual tactics to an absurd extreeme which lead the team to tank. This embarrassed Perkins and he said he HAD to do something, fire Mangino. This embarassed most of the public and this led to more scrutiny of Perkins.....which lasted almost a couple of months.

Is there any pride left in my alma matter? Is there not one man who knows what they should do and when they should do it? WHEN DO I GET TO BE EMBARRASSED?

When you are thinking about getting your friend's together to go beat up another guy....stop to consider what your mother would think.

When you are thinking about leading men through physical threats and intimidation....stop to consider what your mother would think.

When you are offered free things for the position you have obtained at a publicly funded university....stop to consider what your mother would think.

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Janet Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

How come Lew didn't send the exercise equipment over to Mangino's basement where it could have been put to REALLY good use by Mangino?

And why is Gray-Little in London, anyway? I'll bet she flew over to meet with and gain personal guidance from the the Queen and Royal Family on how to manage family scandals and national embarrassment - if anyone knows that subject well, the British Royals do!

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Steve Brown 3 years, 10 months ago

My pals report that during this time they all increased their William FUnd donations and kept getting slightly poorer seat selections and the rehab equip guys give the exact same amount, not counting the $35,000 to Lew's house and they improve slightly.....

Lewcie, you got some splainin' to do here..

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superdave 3 years, 10 months ago

He had no choice but to accept a gift like this. How else could he afford such luxuries making only $900K a year, plus many fringe benefits. I'm sick of it. Negotiate a big contract - fine - but buy your own stuff with all that cash. Does he even know what room this equipment is in? Maybe with all of his other shenanigans he can't find the time to actually use this stuff. Like many other posters, I think our athletic program is a joke around the Big XII. We have an average football team, good mens basketball team and are in the lower echelons of almost every other sport. We were good in basketball before Lew got here, so what, other than raise $$, has he done for athletics? I thought the purpose of raising all the money was, ultimately, to field better teams.

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focojayhawk 3 years, 10 months ago

Don't get me wrong, the basketball team had a great great great season. But between their early exit in the tourney, the football's season disappointment, the baseball team taking a big crap in the big 12 tourney, then all this with the staff and Perkins. This is getting tough! Give me something to look foward to and feel good about here people! Is Turner Gill going to put a positive spin on all this in a couple months? Let's get it together here, hawks!

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Aligned 3 years, 10 months ago

Why is it that I have to wash the horse sh!t from my ears every time I hear Perkins talk? It just get better and better.

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Janet Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

I tried today to call the new KU "HOT" line (900 number, $3 per minute) that was installed after the KUAD ticket scandal, that rings directly into the Strong Hall head administrators' offices, and got a recorded message by Samantha Ryan, where she purred something about "ethics", and then sang "Home on the Range" in a sultry voice. Cost me $9. I called because I was wondering if a "computer" had again ratted on Lew, this time re his exercise-equipment-for-tickets deal. Guess I'll never know; Samantha sure didn't shed any light on the subject.

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ku_foaf 3 years, 10 months ago

Very poor judgment on Perkins part, at the least.

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Cody Stumma 3 years, 10 months ago

This is getting ridiculous.

Either way, the best thing for Lew at this point is to just step down. Whether he is innocent or not, it's time to set his sights elsewhere.

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