2nd former Kansas athletics official to enter plea in ticket scandal
4:27 AM, Jul 15, 2010
7:07 AM, Jul 15, 2010
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- - A second former University of Kansas athletics official is due
in court Thursday where he is expected to admit he knew about a
massive scam that allegedly involved the theft and sale of at least
$1 million worth of tickets to sporting events.
Brandon Simmons, the school's former assistant athletic director
for sales in marketing, is expected to plead guilty in U.S.
District Court in Wichita to one count of misprision of a felony,
the same charge his former colleague, Jason Jeffries, pleaded
guilty to on Wednesday.
Like Jeffries, Simmons was charged with knowing about the scam
and concealing it from authorities.
An internal school investigation found the two assistants sold
more than $200,000 worth of tickets to Jayhawks games through
ticket brokers with the knowledge and consent of their boss,
Charlette Blubaugh, the former associate athletic director in
charge of the ticket office. Neither man has been charged with
profiting from the scheme, but Jeffries agreed to forfeit property
as part of his plea agreement.
Jeffries, 35, the school's former assistant director of ticket
operations, remains free on his own recognizance. He could receive
up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his Sept. 29
sentencing, but he'll likely get far less, if any, prison time. The
government agreed as part of his plea deal to recommend a sentence
within federal sentencing guidelines, although U.S. District Judge
Wesley Brown is not bound by that recommendation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Lind told the court Monday that if
the matter went to trial, the government would have shown that
Jeffries schemed to withhold the sale of certain tickets to the
general public, then changed the tickets' status to reserved
"He did that to disguise the nature of the transaction," Lind
Jeffries agreed as part of his plea deal to cooperate fully in
the federal probe into the ticket scam and to testify in any grand
jury or other court proceeding. He also agreed to disclose to the
government all assets for forfeiture and not to contest any
Jeffries referred all questions to his attorney.
"Mr. Jeffries has always accepted his responsibility," his
defense attorney, Tom Haney, said after the hearing. "He has
nothing to hide."
Haney declined to discuss the investigation, saying prosecutors
have asked them not to talk about it.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to file charges
against Jeffries' wife or seek further charges against him. Haney
said afterward that Jeffries' wife, whom he declined to name, had
no involvement with the ticket scandal and that he was just
accepting the offer by the government in that regard.
Details of the scam surfaced in May, when school officials
disclosed that a report by a Wichita law firm was sent to federal
investigators already looking into allegations of wrongdoing in the
athletics department and the school's athletics fundraising arm,
the Williams Educational Fund.
The law firm's investigation found that five Kansas athletics
employees and a consultant -- none of whom are still employed by
the school -- sold or used at least 17,609 men's basketball
tickets, 2,181 football tickets and a number of parking passes and
other passes for personal purposes.
The report showed over $887,000 in basketball tickets and more
than $122,000 worth of football tickets were involved.
Investigators were unable to determine what portion of the $1
million in tickets were sold directly to ticket brokers.
Distribution of the tickets were disguised by department employees
as complimentary and inventory tickets, or other categories with
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