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Kansas AD Lew Perkins' Expensive Taste Includes Plenty Of Private Flights

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Once again, Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins is confusing work expenses and personal expenses.

In a lengthy Kansas City Star investigation (bylines include J. Brady McCollough, Mike McGraw and Blair Kerkhoff) detailing his often seemingly frivolous plane trips across the country, Perkins racked up massive bills that were charged to the University.

In 2009, when Perkins earned a bonus-laden $4.4 million at KU, he charged the athletic department at least $107,000 for 22 private flights, records show. First-class commercial flights would have cost a fraction of that.

"In my world, time is very important," Perkins told The Star. "I consider my time very valuable. That’s one of the reasons why we have planes, to help us get places quicker."

He spent over $2,000 on a private flight from Lawrence to Columbia for a basketball game and another few hundred on a car service. Coach Bill Self and the players took a bus.


He went to a funeral in Pittsburg, KS and spent over $400 on ground transportation (this is after his private flight down there). Bill Snyder made the same trip and spent $44 on transportation.

One particular plane trip to New Orleans is raising some eye brows. He charged over $8,000 to KU for a trip to New Orleans and when asked by The Star last week about it, he wasn't quite sure.

The $8,800 was for flying on a private plane, a King Air turboprop owned by Tim Fritzel, a major KU donor.

When The Star asked Perkins about the trip Wednesday, he said he couldn’t remember the meeting’s topic, and he seemed surprised at the cost, asking, "How did I spend $8,000?"

He eventually figured out that he was down there for personal reasons as well and an emergency arose at KU that caused him to make an emergency trip back at $2,000 per hour on a private flight. That's where the $8,000 came up.

"I’m old," said Perkins, who turned 65 in March and plans to retire in September 2011. "I can’t remember yesterday. I wish I could tell you my mind is better than it is."


If this were the first time he's confused his personal dealings with his business life, I wouldn't be concerned. Earlier this year it was discovered that Perkins has borrowed over $15,000 worth of exercise equipment from a KU Athletics vendor. Of course the word "borrowed" was under heavy scrutiny. Perkins later paid $5,000 to use the equipment.

I wonder what will be discovered next.