Prosecutor: No evidence Lew Perkins ‘knowingly participated’ in KU's cash-for-tickets scheme

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Federal prosecutors say they don’t anticipate filing any more criminal charges connected with a five-year ticket-stealing scheme that cost Kansas Athletics Inc. at least $2 million.

“We’re pretty much done,” said Richard Hathaway, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case. “We followed all credible leads … to charge and convict everyone that is criminally liable.”

The highest-ranking former department employee with criminal responsibility for the scheme proved to be Ben Kirtland, who had been associate athletics director for development. U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown sentenced Kirtland on Thursday to 57 months in prison, and ordered him to pay nearly $1.3 million in restitution to Kansas Athletics and the IRS.

Investigators also looked into the conduct of Lew Perkins, who had been athletics director during the scheme’s documented five-year duration, and found nothing to indicate he had been involved, Hathaway said.

“We’ve never discovered any evidence that he knowingly participated,” Hathaway said.

Perkins previously has said that he found out about the scheme only when notified by federal investigators. Perkins then requested that KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little authorize an independent investigation into the scheme, an investigation that led to changes designed to prevent such illegal activities in the future.

Perkins resigned in September.