Lexington police charge second ex-Cat in UK ticket scam

aclark@herald-leader.com, kward1@herald-leader.comSeptember 9, 2009 

Lexington police have charged a second former University of Kentucky basketball player with the fraudulent sale of UK basketball season tickets.

Derrick G. Miller, 42, has been charged with one count of theft by deception, a felony, according to Lexington police.

Police said Miller accepted payment in advance for tickets when they weren't available to him to sell.

The charge follows the arrest of former UK star Ed Davender on Sept. 1 in connection with a similar scam.

Both Miller and Davender worked for Kentucky Sports History at one time, and both were fired for trying to sell tickets to advertisers, president Todd Ferguson said.

Kentucky Sports History is a season-recap book produced annually and distributed to schools. It hires former Wildcat basketball players as independent contractors to sell ads for the book.

Ferguson said the company began receiving complaints several years ago from sponsors who said Davender had offered to sell them basketball tickets but took their money and didn't provide the tickets.

After talking to Davender and giving him time to make good on the deals, Ferguson said the publication fired him because he never provided the tickets.

Because of the problems with Davender, Ferguson said Kentucky Sports History told its contractors they couldn't sell tickets to sponsors.

But last year, Ferguson said, the company got a complaint from a sponsor who said Miller had taken money for tickets that he never provided. Miller was fired immediately, Ferguson said.

Emmett Mays, who owns Mays First Choice Automotive in Nicholasville, said he had bought ads in Kentucky Sports History through Miller for about three years when Miller visited him on Feb. 26, 2008, and offered to sell him two season tickets.

Mays said Miller asked for payment of $1,100 up front, and Mays wrote a check that day. He said Miller cashed the check in Lexington the next day, but he never provided the lower-arena tickets he'd promised.

"For a month or so, he would give me excuses," Mays said. After that, he said, Miller stopped returning his calls.

After Davender's arrest made news last week, Mays said he contacted Lexington police, and he is waiting to hear back from them.

Ferguson said Kentucky Sports History plans to inform sponsors that Miller no longer works for the company. He said Kenny Walker, the only former UK basketball player still representing the company, is visiting as many sponsors as possible.

"We just are kind of worn out with it, quite frankly," Ferguson said. "All we can do is send out letters and try to make it up to people."

Walker said the allegations against Davender and Miller should not be taken as a reflection on Kentucky Sports History.

"Kentucky Sports History is a great company. I've enjoyed going around and meeting the many great Kentucky fans and doing business with the people of the commonwealth," he said. "It's unfortunate some of the information about Ed and Derrick that has come out in the last couple of weeks."

Davender, 43, of Georgetown, is accused of taking money from at least three people and promising them UK basketball season tickets that he didn't have, police said.

Lexington police said last week that they received nearly 100 calls about the alleged ticket scam. Miller's charge "came to light as a result of the noise around the Davender case," Lexington police Lt. Doug Pape said.

It is unclear who the alleged victim is in Miller's case. Miller received a citation for the charge and was not arrested because he was cooperative, Pape said.

Davender was arrested because he also was charged with having a prescription controlled substance not in the proper container and trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school. Court records state that Davender had 14.2 grams of marijuana in two jars in his Jeep Cherokee at the time of his arrest.

Davender's attorney, Stephen McFayden, has said that his client never intended to defraud anyone and that there was a miscommunication between parties.

On Friday, McFayden told the Herald-Leader that people will come forward in the next few weeks who say they sold Davender tickets that he would have then sold to his accusers.

Police have charged Davender with three felony counts of theft by deception. The three alleged victims who have been identified gave Davender a total of $5,846, according to court records, after he offered to sell them tickets for the 2009-10 season.

Davender pleaded not guilty. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Fayette District Court.

Miller played at UK from 1986-90. He and Davender were teammates during Miller's first two seasons at UK.

During his senior year at UK, Miller was captain and leading scorer for Rick Pitino's first Kentucky team. That year, Miller set the UK record he still holds for most three-point attempts in one season, with 298. He made 99 of those shots, the third-most in one season.

According to UK's basketball media guide, Miller recently earned his degree in social work thanks to the Cawood Ledford Scholarship Fund.

Davender was a UK guard from 1984-88. He is 11th on UK's all-time men's scoring list, with 1,637 career points.

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