Ex-Cat now charged with cheating 19 people in alleged UK ticket scam

A former University of Kentucky men's basketball player accused of running a ticket scam totaling more than $70,000 has been indicted on 23 counts of theft by deception.

Lexington police had originally charged Ed E. Davender, 43, of Georgetown, with taking money from at least three people after promising them UK basketball season tickets that he didn't have. But a Fayette County grand jury has indicted Davender on charges that he unlawfully obtained money from 19 people "with the intent to permanently deprive them of the money" between May 2003 and August 2009.

Victims in the indictment are identified by their first initial and last name. The amount of money stolen ranges from $300 to $23,900, according to the indictment, which was handed down on Wednesday. The $300 theft charge is the only one that is classified as a misdemeanor; the other charges are felonies because each involves more than $300.

The indictment deals only with Lexington charges. Davender was indicted by a Harrison County grand jury Nov. 3 on three counts of theft by deception involving more than $300.

Davender's attorney, Stephen McFayden, has said that the matter is a big misunderstanding and that Davender has the ability to produce the tickets. McFayden did not return calls for comment.

Davender's arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 4.

In addition to the theft charges, Davender was indicted on one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of having a controlled substance not in its original container. Davender is accused of having 14.2 grams of marijuana in two jars in his Jeep Cherokee and a Viagra pill in his pocket when he was arrested Sept. 1, according to court documents.

After Davender's arrest, Lexington police received dozens of calls from people claiming to be victims of the alleged ticket scam. Though he was arrested only on three counts of theft by deception, police said at the time that other cases would be presented to a grand jury.

Another former UK player also has been implicated in a similar alleged ticket scam.

Derrick Miller, 42, of Lexington faces theft by deception charges in Fayette, Floyd, Clark, Bell and Hardin counties. He is scheduled to appear in Fayette District Court for a preliminary hearing Dec. 7.

Both Davender and Miller worked at one time for Kentucky Sports History, a season-recap book produced annually and distributed to schools. The publisher hires former Wildcat basketball players as independent contractors to sell ads for the book.

Both Davender and Miller were fired for trying to sell tickets to advertisers, president Todd Ferguson has said. But police have said they do not think the men worked together in the alleged scams.

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 never played in the pro league.

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.

Hall said he didn't foresee any problems with Davender when he played for Hall. The former coach said he was surprised by the indictment.

"It was certainly a mistake on his part to be involved in a deceitful situation if this is true," Hall said.

Former teammates also expressed disbelief at the indictment.

"Let him have his day in court," James Blackman said. He declined further comment.

"It's shocking," said Rob Lock, another former teammate. "Whatever happens, I support my old friend, though."

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