Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ex-KU athletics official Ben Kirtland plans to plead guilty to federal charges in ticket scam case


The onetime leader of fundraising for Kansas Athletics Inc. plans to plead guilty later this month in federal court for his role in a tickets scam that cost the department millions of dollars.


Kansas Athletics, Inc.

Ben Kirtland

Ben Kirtland, former associate athletics director for development, is scheduled to enter his guilty plea during a hearing at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 in U.S. District Court in Wichita.

Kirtland would become the seventh and final former athletics employee or consultant charged in the case to plead guilty. The case has led to changes in how tickets are distributed and preceded the accelerated retirement of Lew Perkins as athletic director.

Kirtland had been scheduled to stand trial beginning March 8 on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. But U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown has agreed to schedule a change-of-plea hearing, at Kirtland’s request.

Already having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud are:

• Charlette Blubaugh, former head of the athletics ticket office.

• Tom Blubaugh, her husband and a former consultant.

• Kassie Liebsch, a former systems analyst who had taken over for Charlette Blubaugh running the tickets office.

• Rodney Jones, former assistant athletic director in charge of Williams Fund.

Each of the co-conspirators face up to 20 years in prison, fines of up to $250,000 and are on the hook for a monetary judgment of $2 million — a total ordered to be paid by convicted co-conspirators.

Two other former co-workers — Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons — earlier had pleaded guilty to failing to notify authorities about the scam.

Prosecutors allege that the co-conspirators stole thousands of tickets from 2005 to 2010, then funneled those tickets through brokers and others to generate more than $2 million in illegal proceeds.


thesloss 10 years, 1 month ago

The comment counter needs an "adjustment".

Geekinout 10 years, 1 month ago

Another one bites the dust... Still amused about the guy who retired earlier than expected. If that doesn't stamp a big guilty on the forehead than I don't know what does. These nitwits probably thought they were riding high, when they were simply being used as ponds. Stealing=one of the worst sins of them all!

thesloss 10 years, 1 month ago

I've been used as a pond before ... shallow and reflective experience.

Julie Craig 10 years, 1 month ago

hahahahahaha I needed a laugh today.

For future reference - use pawn Geekin

741hawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Google this guy's resume. Of all those involved, it's amazing that Kirkland participated. Of all of them, he's the one you would have counted on to alert Lew. Who knows?

All I DO know is that Lew should have known who was sitting in the first few rows of AFH and been interested enough to find out why Va Tech fans were sitting IN FRONT OF KU'S BIGGEST DONORS at the Orange Bowl. (These were the KU tix that were being sold off.) If nothing else, Lew was a lazy bully.

BewareOfThePhogOnTheWater 10 years, 1 month ago

It's not over. There is more to come. Mark my words. There is a "bigger fish" to fry.

blindrabbit 10 years, 1 month ago

The investigation has only addressed those employed at KUAD; when are the others outside that group going to be exposed. My guess, this will even be more embarrassing to the KU and Lawrence communities. Throughout this investigation the rumor mill as well as the LJW have mentioned names that have had some role in ticket manipulation; especially those in the Folks Road neighborhood as well the Pump Bros. in California. Any truth to all of this or "DOA".

kureader 10 years, 1 month ago

Good question. You'd think the other shoe would drop soon.

BewareOfThePhogOnTheWater 10 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I had to laugh at that one, too. There is nothing "low" about Perkins' profile except maybe his waistline.

blindrabbit 10 years, 1 month ago

How does Perkins get himself in and out of that Corvette! Was it custom made?

thesloss 10 years, 1 month ago

The same way he got IN and OUT of his ticket scandal ... teflon.

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