A former University of Kentucky basketball star has been charged with theft by deception in an alleged scam involving UK basketball tickets.
Edward E. Davender, 43, of Georgetown is accused of taking money from at least three people and promising them tickets he didn't have, police say.
Davender was a UK guard from 1984-85 through 1987-88. He is 11th on UK's all-time men's scoring list with 1,637 career points and fourth in career steals with 191. He played his first season under Coach Joe B. Hall and his final three under Eddie Sutton. He was chosen in the third round of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets, but he never played in the pro league.
This isn't the first time questions have surfaced about Davender and UK tickets.
In December, Davender was arrested and charged with a felony count of theft by deception in a similar case, but the charge was later dropped.
According to a criminal complaint filed in that case, Jeffrey Morrison met Davender through a mutual friend and gave him $2,145 in April 2008 for a set of four UK football season tickets and a season parking pass.
"I just figured that former players are given access," Morrison said in an interview Tuesday night. "I thought nothing of it."
Davender gave Morrison four tickets for one game and a single-use parking pass before the first game of the season and said he'd give him the rest before the next game. When that game rolled around, Davender gave Morrison four tickets in a different part of the stadium and no parking pass. After that, Davender did not provide any more tickets and didn't show up when he was supposed to meet Morrison, according to the complaint.
"I got a phone call from him almost every day, stating that he was going to get me my money the next day," Morrison said.
After three months, Morrison said he decided to go to the police.
Court records indicate that the case was dismissed without prejudice on Feb. 11.
In an interview Tuesday night, Morrison said he was unaware the charge against Davender had been dropped.
He said Davender's attorney contacted him after Davender's arrest and asked how much he was owed. Morrison said he received a check drawn on the attorney's bank account reimbursing him for the tickets he never received.
Morrison said he never heard back from police and assumed the case had continued to make its way through the court system.
Kenny Walker, who roomed with Davender when they were UK players, said he became aware some years ago that Davender was approaching people who advertised with Kentucky Sports History, a publication that provides a recap of each basketball season. Ex-athletes, including Davender, have sold ads for the publication, which is distributed in school libraries throughout the state and which promotes literacy and staying away from drugs. Davender hasn't been associated with the publication for several years.
Walker said Davender "maybe got a little sideways when he promised tickets he knew he didn't have."
Walker said he had talked to Davender about the ticket sales some years ago. "We had some private conversations about the situation. I felt good about the situation after those conversations."
Walker said he thought that Davender had stopped selling tickets because he hadn't heard any other complaints. "I was under the impression things had changed," Walker said. "I just assumed things had gotten better."
He said Tuesday that "it's an unfortunate situation. It's definitely an unfortunate situation for people that trusted him."
The three alleged victims who have been identified so far gave Davender a total of $5,846, according to court records, after he offered to sell them tickets for the 2009-10 basketball season.
"To my knowledge, he never had any tickets at all," said Commander Ron Compton of the Lexington police.
Davender was arrested in Lexington Tuesday and charged with three felony counts of theft by deception, having a prescription controlled substance not in the proper container and trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school. Compton said the latter charge was filed because Davender had marijuana in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Court records indicate that Davender had 14.2 grams of marijuana in two jars in his Jeep Cherokee at the time of his arrest.
The prescription controlled substance was Viagra. Davender had a single pill in his pocket, and five others were found in a blue bottle in the vehicle, according to the documents.
Davender was taken to the Fayette County Detention Center on $15,350 bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The investigation is continuing and there might be other victims, Compton said.
Davender has also had two judgments entered against him in cases in which banks filed suit.
In 2005, Davender was ordered to pay $12,671 plus interest and late charges in a suit brought by Farmers Bank of Milton, Ky.
In 2006, a judgment for $2,914 was entered against him in a contract case brought by Whitaker Bank, court records show.
Hall said Tuesday afternoon that he has run into Davender from time to time over the years and remembers him as "a hard worker" on the team. The former coach said he was surprised to hear of the allegations against Davender.
"He's always been a very dependable and accountable person," he said.
Reach Karla Ward at (859) 231-3314 or 1-800 950-6397, Ext. 3314.