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KU chancellor issues statement on alleged blackmail of Perkins

University of Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little issued a statement today regarding the alleged blackmail of KU athletic director Lew Perkins by a former KU athletics employee, who claimed that Perkins received a free loan of exercise equipment in exchange for premium men’s basketball tickets.

Gray-Little also ordered senior university staff to work with Kansas Athletics to fully review the allegations within 10 working days.

“Although originating from a questionable source, several allegations were raised in the media this weekend about Kansas Athletics,” Gray-Little said in the statement. “I urge that there not be a rush to judgment in the absence of facts that support the allegations.

“Prior to the media stories, the university was aware of the report to the Lawrence Police Department of an attempt to blackmail Lew Perkins.

“With regard to the exercise equipment in question, Perkins has reported the fact that he returned the equipment more than a year ago and has paid the fair rental value to the company that actually owned the equipment. I also understand that he has referred this matter to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission."

Mark Glass, a co-owner of now-defunct Lenexa-based Medical Outfitters, told The Star on Monday that Perkins was not expected to pay for the loaned equipment, worth between $15,000 and $35,000, which he was using at his home to recover from surgery. The Star left a message for Glass today asking if Perkins had paid for the equipment, as Gray-Little’s statement indicated. Lynn Bretz, a spokesperson for the chancellor, told The Star that Perkins in April paid Glass $5,000, which was determined to be the fair market rental value of the equipment.

Former KU director of sports medicine William Dent told the Topeka Capital-Journal last week that Glass and fellow co-owner Patrick Carpenter were awarded center-court men’s basketball tickets in exchange for the loan of the exercise equipment. Dent, who was Glass’ primary contact in his company’s business with KU, threatened to go public with the alleged ticket swap unless he was compensated for the cost of storing the equipment, which Perkins gave to Dent in April 2009 for unknown reasons.

Dent resigned from KU in November 2007, a month before he was scheduled to appear in court for two counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal threat relating to an April 2007 domestic incident.

Lawrence police released a report on its Web site Friday indicating that Perkins was the victim of an alleged blackmail.

Glass refuted Dent’s account of the alleged ticket swap, telling The Star that he and Carpenter went through the Select-a-Seat process like all Williams Fund donors and that their seats were far from premium — near the baseline and high into the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse.

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