State ethics commission to consider complaint against former KU AD Lew Perkins

KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins speaks during a press conference after a report detailing improprieties in its ticket office. The Journal-World has learned that Perkins was absent from some of last week's Big 12 meetings because he was testifying in Topeka before a federal grand jury about the scandal.

KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins speaks during a press conference after a report detailing improprieties in its ticket office. The Journal-World has learned that Perkins was absent from some of last week's Big 12 meetings because he was testifying in Topeka before a federal grand jury about the scandal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

— The state ethics commission on Tuesday will consider a complaint against former Kansas University Athletic Director Lew Perkins that alleges he violated a ban on gifts to state officials by accepting free exercise equipment and physical therapy sessions.

Perkins faces a maximum fine of $5,000 if the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission finds he violated the ban.

A public hearing on the complaint is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. After the hearing, the commission will go into a closed-door session and then will emerge and announce its decision in open session.

Perkins, who retired in September, has not commented on the ethics complaint, which was filed in October.

But in earlier comments, Perkins had stated through a spokesman that he did nothing wrong in accepting the equipment, and that he reported the issue to the ethics commission to make sure everything was above-board.

The complaint against Perkins includes two counts. Both counts allege violations of a state law that bans gifts to state agencies, state officers, and employees and candidates for state office. Perkins received a portion of his salary from state funds.

The first count alleges that in 2005 Perkins, as athletic director, accepted at no cost exercise equipment from Medical Outfitters, a now-defunct Lenexa company. The equipment remained in his home until 2009, according to the complaint.

The second count alleges that in 2005, Perkins asked for and received physical therapy sessions from employees with the KU department of sports medicine.

The controversy surrounding the exercise equipment was one of several that plagued Perkins last year.

The school was rocked by a scam uncovered by authorities that football and basketball tickets were allegedly sold by staff members who pocketed the money. An audit said the school could have lost upwards of $3 million. Five officials were indicted in the case.

Perkins was not implicated but he admitted to having been guilty of poor oversight.

Shortly after that hit the news, Perkins was accused by former staff member William Dent of accepting use of the exercise equipment in his home in exchange for giving the company’s owners access to premium men’s basketball tickets. Perkins and the company’s co-owner denied the allegation.

Prior to the accusation, Perkins had filed a report with Lawrence police saying he was being blackmailed by Dent over the equipment.

Perkins later wrote a check for $5,000 for use of the equipment. In June, an internal review by KU found “no evidence” to substantiate Dent’s claims.

Perkins had announced he would retire in September 2011, but on Sept. 7, 2010, he announced he was stepping down immediately.