When Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins steps down on Sept. 4, 2011, he will leave behind a lifestyle reserved for the rich and famous.
Perkins charged the athletic department more than $150,000 from July 2008 to May 2010 for 22 flights on university-owned and leased planes, according to a review of his travel vouchers by the Kansas City Star.
On one trip, Perkins flew from Lawrence to Columbia in an executive-style jet to attend the Jayhawks' basketball game against rival Missouri. Bill Self's defending national champion team took the bus.
There were 23 other private flights Perkins took in those 22 months — seven on boosters' planes, four cited on Perkins' vouchers without a cost and 12 that were reported on the expense reports of other Kansas staffers who joined the athletic director on a trip.
Athletic directors at Kansas State and Missouri don’t board private planes at anywhere near the same rate, according to the Star. John Currie has been Kansas State's athletic director for 15 months and he has taken 10 private flights costing $28,430.
Perkins' outlandish expenses don't stop in the air. He has also racked up big bills in ground transportation, often hiring car services to get around. He spent about $7,000 on ground transportation, including $1,827 during two days in New York.
Earlier this year, Perkins took Kansas' jet on a 139-mile trip to Pittsburg, Kan., to attend the funeral of former Kansas State quarterback Dylan Meier, whose younger brother, Kerry, had played at Kansas.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder also flew in for the funeral, taking a university plane from Manhattan, but when both needed to get from the airport to the funeral, Perkins charged $425 for a car service and Snyder rented a vehicle for $44.
"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."
It's remarkable that Perkins still has a job. As noted earlier on the site, Perkins was paid $85,000 a week in 2009, making him the highest-paid athletic director in the land.
Earlier this year, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission looked into Perkins' use of $15,000 worth of exercise equipment he had borrowed from a Kansas Athletics Inc. vendor. Perkins sent a $5,000 personal check to the vendor in April in an attempt to resolve the issue. State employees are prohibited by law from accepting gifts.
This summer, federal officials began an investigation into the illicit distribution of more than $1 million worth of prime tickets to basketball and football games.
At Georgia, the athletic director resigns after a DUI arrest. At Kansas, the athletic director with a history of financial abuses is due a $600,000 retention payment if he's still on the job June 30, 2011.
Lew Perkins is laughing all the way to the bank and nobody seems to care.