Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
Blog Entry

Fiesta's Junker fired, BCS status in jeopardy

Posted on: March 29, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 5:39 pm
 
Longtime Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker was fired Tuesday afternoon following findings of apparent improper payments to politicians. The move was made by the bowl's independent Special Committee of the Board of Directors.

In a news release, the bowl said it uncovered an "apparent scheme" to reimburse at least $46,500 in improper campaign contributions. It also said there was a "flawed initial investigation" and "apparent conspiracy to conceal" the reimbursement scheme from the board and state officials. In addition, there was unauthorized compensation, inappropriate expenditures and inappropriate gifts.

The wrongdoing is so serious that the BCS released a statement Tuesday asking the Fiesta "to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game."

A 276-page internal report details some of the bowl's largesse, including $1,200 spent at a Phoenix-area strip club. A series of stories in the Arizona Republic instigated the initial inquiry.  At risk, seemingly, is the bowl's non-profit, tax-exempt status. Before the report, the Fiesta hired Nathan Hochman, a former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's tax division.

After the discovery of those alleged misdeeds, the board voted unanimously to fire Junker, who had taken the bowl from its infancy to being a major player in the Bowl Championship Series. The not-for-profit Fiesta Bowl is considered one of the biggest sports entities in the Valley of the Sun with its charitable foundations and contributions. Junker is one of the most well-liked individuals in college football.

Among the allegations are that employees were reimbursed with "bonuses" after making political contributions to candidates. On one occasion, Junker and his family "appeared" to spend $13,000 to attend a staffer's wedding in Kansas City, Mo., according to the report. During the alleged strip club visit, part of the $1,200 "in all likelihood," according to the report, was spent on dances by strippers.

Junker was put on paid administrative leave in February by the bowl for alleged improper political campaign contributions. The articles of incorporation for the Arizona Sports Authority state that "... this corporation shall not at any time engage in any business activity or transaction which would it to lose its status as a non-profit corporation or tax exempt status ..."


Non-profit, tax-exempt status allows a business to avoid paying taxes because it is a community trust. Three of the four BCS bowls, including the Fiesta, are alleged to have engaged in "tax irregularities." Political action committee PlayoffPAC filed a complaint with the IRS in September . Only the Rose Bowl is not included in any alleged tax violations. 

A tax expert told CBSSports.com last month that he believed the Fiesta Bowl would be able to survive, minus the tax-exempt status. 

"You might owe taxes for a number of years," said veteran tax attorney Wayne Henry who formerly worked with the IRS chief counsel's office. "If they made a lot of money, there could be a big corporate tax liability. In these types of cases, traditionally and typically, there would be some kind of settlement with the government."

The Fiesta board said the special committee was formed after an employee came forward to provide information about alleged misconduct. Junker reportedly had been making more than $600,000 per year. 








Category: NCAAF
Comments

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: March 30, 2011 6:36 pm
 

Criminal charges?

Just in this article I see embezzlement, defrauding a non-profit organization. tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to state investigators.

Why isn't this guy in jail? Preferably one of those desert tent jails.



Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: March 29, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Fiesta's Junker fired, BCS status in jeopardy

Anti Donkey please drop the "anti" and use the slang for the rest.  It would be far more accurate.  One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.  And besides, the whole dam system is corrupt (from players upward) so why even bother comparing!
Otherwise I am happy to see the Cotton Bowl will finally get a BCS game...........



Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Fiesta's Junker fired, BCS status in jeopardy

$600,000? How do you start a non-profit? Do I need to fill out a form or something?



Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:54 pm
 

BCS status in jeopardy for Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

  . . . . .  No more Tostitos for me.



Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Fiesta's Junker fired

AntiDonkey...it wouldn't do any good to draw a picture, in that you probably couldn't understand it, so here it is in a nutshell. Selling awards, rings, etc. is a violation because (1) it results in a direct monetary benefit that wasn't available to ALL students. Dumbing it down further, if a school gives ALL incoming freshmen a class ring, and they sell it, there isn't a problem because ALL students can enjoy the same benefit. Also, a school cannot pay airfare for an athlete, and not offer the same benefit to ALL students. So called "student athletes", are given something called an athletic scholarship, that covers four years of room, board, tuition, books, etc. The value of this scholarship varies, but usually is worth anywhere between $200,000 - $300,000 dollars. There are a zillion kids that have ZERO chance of ever getting admitted to some of these schools, and could never afford the cost. However, these "student athletes" are given ready made futures on a silver platter, and admission to places they don't belong. A great portion of the "student athletes" could care less, and don't give a flying hoot about the school, an education, or shaping a future. They just want "paid", in one form or another. They want accolades, attention, special privileges. They are the problem. In a perfect world, there would be no collegiate athletics at all, and these "student athletes" would be left to fend for themselves like everyone else. At the very least, athletic scholarships should be eliminated entirely (Ivy League), and sports treated like any other extracurricular activity. Without sports the colleges would still exist. They don't need the money generated by athletics. The "student athletes" may have a tougher time scratching out an existence. You see, the schools don't need the athletes. They are disposable. The athletes do however, need the school. Without the schools they have diminished hope. The schools serve as a conduit to the pros. Without that conduit, most have no hope at all.



Since: Jan 7, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Fiesta's Junker fired

Shameful... a fat cat is allowed to ride the coattails of student athletes and missappropriate money in not even remotely acceptable social circles. (Yes, I know he was fired). Also leverages money to finance a personal vacation to a wedding. $13k??? Seriously?? to fly to a wedding? He got caught doing this. Imagine the things that haven't been found. Likeable guy or not this guy is a bastard. I wonder how many staffers were let go because the bowl game could no longer afford to pay them in "tough economic times".  Bet he is a millionnaire already and never is required to pay back a single nickel and we'll never hear mention of it again.

A college student tries to sell his jersey... SUSPENDED. I'm just sick of all the entitled old men that get to play jet-setter playboy on money generated by college athletes who get suspended if their coach buys them a plane ticket home to visit a dying relative.



Since: Jan 7, 2008
Posted on: March 29, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Fiesta's Junker fired

Shameful... a fat cat is allowed to ride the coattails of student athletes and missappropriate money in not even remotely acceptable social circles. (Yes, I know he was fired). Also leverages money to finance a personal vacation to a wedding. $13k??? Seriously?? to fly to a wedding? He got caught doing this. Imagine the things that haven't been found. Likeable guy or not this guy is a bastard. I wonder how many staffers were let go because the bowl game could no longer afford to pay them in "tough economic times".  Bet he is a millionnaire already and never is required to pay back a single nickel and we'll never hear mention of it again.

A college student tries to sell his jersey... SUSPENDED. I'm just sick of all the entitled old men that get to play jet-setter playboy on money generated by college athletes who get suspended if their coach buys them a plane ticket home to visit a dying relative.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com