4 ex-officials plead not guilty in Kansas probe

WICHITA, Kansas - Four former University of Kansas officials charged with conspiring to steal more than $2 million in tickets to athletic events have pleaded not guilty.

The four appeared Wednesday in federal court in Wichita, nearly three weeks after they were indicted with conspiring to steal individual and season tickets to sporting events. They face federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Entering not guilty pleas Wednesday were former associate athletic director Charlette Blubaugh, who was in charge of the ticket office; her husband, Thomas Blubaugh; former assistant athletic director Rodney Jones, of Lawrence; and former associate athletic director Ben Kirtland.

They were released on a $25,000 own-recognizance bond.

A fifth defendant, Lawrence resident Kassie Liebsch, did not appear, but a change-of-plea hearing for her was set for Jan. 21.

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