In a story that draws similarities to the worst corporate scandals of the last decade, the CEO of the Fiesta Bowl has been fired for using the revenue from the BCS game as his own personal piggy bank.Yesterday, the Fiesta Bowl submitted a full report of the excessive spending perpetrated by John Junker and other high-ranking employees. The offenses outlined in the 276-page report were so egregious that the game may actually be kicked out of the BCS rotation.
The biggest controversy coming from the report is the attempted cover up of reimbursements that employees received for making political contributions, which is a large violation of the bowl’s non-profit status.
However, they also spent hundreds of thousands of the non-profit’s dollars on what were essentially personal expenses. Most were charged as gifts for employees, sponsors, and political friends — things like golf memberships, extravagant travel accommodations, and purchases related to the “Fiesta Frolic,” an event that invited all Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to Arizona — that were completely unnecessary since the game’s participants are basically chosen by a computer.
According to the report, the Fiesta Bowl purchased a $1,000 wine that was charged to the Bowl by former COO Doug Blouin.
On September 12, 2008, Junker, Aaron Brown (the head of a security company), and Shawn Schoeffer spent an evening at Phoenix's 'Bourbon Street,' a purportedly famous strip club. The total charges of the night came to $1,241.75.
Shawn Schoeffer went to the strip club at least six more times using the Fiesta Bowl's money.
Junker was reimbursed $1,721.06 for cable television and personal internet service in 2010. The Fiesta Bowl has also paid for satellite TV, a Golf Channel subscription, OnStar car service, and satellite radio.
COO Natalie Wisneski also had internet, satellite radio, and television paid for by The Fiesta Bowl.
In November 2005, John Junker purchased 36 floral arrangements from a company known as 'The Ranch of the Golden Hawk,' which is owned by an executive for the Fox network. (Which broadcasts the Fiesta Bowl.)
The 36 floral arrangements cost a total of $2,565.03. The purchase of what must have been a field's worth of flowers was made to, as Junker claims, maintain good relationships with various coaches, athletic directors, and commissioners.
A smaller purchase of $75 dollars made by Junker at the Ranch of the Golden Hawk was reimbursed by the Fiesta Bowl in March of 2010. The money was spent on a floral arrangement was sent to Jennifer Scalora, who is the Director of honours Admissions at the University of Texas at Austin. Junker's daughter Lucy had recently been accepted to the University as an honour student.
Each top ranking employee with The Fiesta Bowl had an $1,800 yearly allowance for cell phones. Junker had an expensive habit of buying phone accessories, which totaled $1,744 over the last four years. He was reimbursed for all of those accessories.
Junker spent $3,000 on iPads and accessories in May of 2010. He spent an additional $2,400 on iPads in August of the same year. The iPads in May were formally categorized as a business purchase, and the iPads in August were labelled as 'gifts,' because employees were allowed to keep the iPads if they left the company.
In 2003, COO Blouin was reimbursed $8,410.18 for a white gold and diamond covered pendant in the shape of a heart.
Update: A attorney for Doug Blouin contacted us to say that his client 'vehemently denies the allegations made against him in all aspects of the March 21, 2011 Final Report.'
The Fiesta spent $13,086 on the wedding and honeymoon of Kelly Keogh, who was Junker's assistant. The expenses were justified on the grounds that Keogh's mother works for Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder and her father worked at the University of Kansas, which are both Big 12 schools.
In October of 2005, Junker used $18,453.95 of the Fiesta Bowl's money on a single trip to Chicago with 'legislative dignitaries.' The travellers were put up in the Chicago Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
The Fiesta Bowl also bought $33,770 worth of collectible gold coins. The Fiesta Bowl has never received any actual coins from this purchase and were most likely for an executive's personal collection.
John Junker had his 50th birthday celebration in Pebble Beach, California, paid for by his employers. The total bill for the event ran a cool $33,188.96. Former board chair Kevin Hickey called this event 'excessive,' and said the event had 'no business purpose.'
The Fiesta Bowl pays for at least five of Junker's golf club memberships. The membership at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ costs $10,800 a year.
The Fiesta Bowl gives $3,467.70 a year to The Biltmore Golf Club in Phoenix for Junker's membership.
The bowl gives another $2,078.64 for Junker's membership to Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
A fee of $2,580 is made annually to the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club through the Fiesta Bowl for Junker's membership.
Junker is also a member of Chaparral Pines in Payson, AZ. The cost of membership there is $385 a month, but also requires a $25,000 up front fee that the Fiesta Bowl provided.
For a Boston College and Virginia Tech game in Boston, Junker flew out nine legislators each of whom brought at least one guest to the game. Approximately fourteen guests that were not political figures were a part of this trip. The cost of this trip totaled at $65,674.58.
After a GNC sponsorship of the Fiesta Bowl ended in 2009, the Fiesta Bowl started providing down payments for cars, plus monthly stipends. Junker received a $8,500 check for a down payment, and received a stipend of $27.000.
At least four other executives at the Fiesta Bowl received down payments and stipends as well. Also, Junker's wife, Susan, has a car paid for by the Fiesta Bowl.
Junker claimed the the car allowances were contractually guaranteed, but there hasn't been any evidence found to support that.
Junker attended a charity event known as 'Celebrity Fight Night,' in March of 2003. There were two bids made at the event by Junker, one for $95,000 and another for $15,000. These bids went towards a golf trip to Florida with Jack Nicklaus. At least one other person attended this golf excursion. There was an additional $735 charge made on top of the initial $110,000 for limousine service.
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