Ticket scandal charges could bring up to 3 years in prison
posted by Shellie Nelson
6:00 PM, Jul 9, 2010
6:01 PM, Jul 9, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kansas - Two former University of Kansas athletics officials tied to a $1
million ticket scalping scandal at the school have been charged as
part of a federal probe into the scheme, according to court
documents made public Wednesday.
Brandon Simmons, the university's former assistant athletic
director for sales and marketing, was charged with one count of
misprision of a felony. Prosecutors allege he knew tickets were
stolen from the university, concealed that fact and did not report
it to authorities, according to a criminal information document
filed in federal court in Topeka.
Jason Jeffries, the assistant director of ticket operations, was
charged last week with the same felony, which carries a maximum
sentence of three years in prison.
Jeffries' charges also were cited in a criminal information
document, which is typically filed with the consent of the
defendant and is commonly the first step toward entering a guilty
plea. Both men are scheduled to appear in court next week.
Simmons, Jeffries and four other former university employees
have been accused in an internal investigation of an alleged scheme
to sell at least $1 million in basketball and football tickets to
brokers. The university determined that thousands of tickets were
used or sold by several school staffers for personal purposes.
Simmons' attorney, Mark Bennett Jr., said his client hasn't
decided whether to plead guilty. He said Simmons cooperated with
the university investigation, but it has "yet to be determined"
whether he will cooperate with federal prosecutors.
Jeffries cooperated with investigations from the beginning
because "he has nothing to hide," said his attorney, Tom Haney.
Jeffries is considering pleading guilty to the charge and is not
accused of profiting from the alleged scheme, Haney said.
School officials are confident that any criminal charges will be
handled appropriately, said University of Kansas Associate
Athletics Director Jim Marchiony.
"The U.S. attorney is conducting a thorough investigation," he
said. "We continue to cooperate with that investigation."
Simmons resigned from the university in April, and his attorney
said he expects that more people will be charged.
Jim Cross, the spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office,
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 five Kansas athletics
staffers and a consultant -- all of them no longer 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
Jeffries's first court appearance is scheduled for July 14 in
Wichita. The proceeding will allow him only to enter a not guilty
plea, but a change-of-plea hearing is set to immediately follow
before U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown.
Similar court appearances for Simmons are set for July 15 in
Associated Press Writer John Hanna contributed to this report