Ticket-fixing investigation leads to 2 suspensions

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)   Two Lawrence police officers have been suspended after an FBI investigation into traffic tickets being fixed in exchange for Kansas basketball tickets over a span of several years.

The Lawrence Journal-World reported that City Manager David Corliss confirmed Thursday that the person whose traffic tickets were fixed is serving time in a federal prison related to a broader Kansas ticket scandal.

In the scandal, seven people, including top business officials in the athletics department, were convicted in the thefts of more than 17,000 Jayhawk basketball tickets and at least 2,000 football tickets. The tickets were illegally sold to brokers and others, with the defendants pocketing the money.

Corliss declined to name the person whose tickets were fixed or the officers who were suspended.

Corliss said Police Chief Tarik Khatib received an anonymous tip in May 2011 about possible ticket-fixing and that information was referred to federal authorities for an investigation. Dismissing speeding tickets in exchange for the Kansas basketball tickets violated the city’s gratuity policy. But Corliss said investigators did not believe any criminal charges would be forthcoming.

Khatib said he believes “several” members of the Lawrence Police Department were involved in the dismissal of tickets. He declined to estimate how many tickets were improperly dismissed.

“It’s my job to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” Khatib told the Journal-World. “It’s my job to reinforce to employees that this is not an acceptable behavior.”

Corliss referred questions to Khatib in an email to The Associated Press. Khatib didn’t immediately return a phone call from the AP seeking comment.