Lexington police say they have received more than a dozen calls about an alleged scam involving former University of Kentucky men's basketball player Ed Davender, who was arrested Tuesday. But Davender's attorney says his client never intended to defraud anyone, and that the situation was a miscommunication between parties.
Davender, 43, of Georgetown is accused of taking money from at least three people and promising them tickets he didn't have, police say.
Police have charged the former UK guard with three felony counts of theft by deception. 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.
Davender's attorney, Stephen McFayden, told the Herald-Leader Wednesday evening that he was still reviewing the case and didn't have all of the details. But he said Davender did not intend to deceive or defraud anyone.
"From what I understand, it's just a situation where the tickets are not available at the moment," McFayden said. "The tickets for UK basketball don't even print until mid-October."
McFayden said Davender intended to provide tickets to the people who paid for them. McFayden said he had not yet received details about the three who filed police reports.
Police have been receiving phone calls about Davender since his arrest Tuesday night, Lexington police Commander Ron Compton said. Some callers said that the alleged scam dates back to 2003, he said.
Police have not investigated all of the phone calls, Compton said. No new charges have been filed.
Compton said it appears to be a "regional type of issue" that is both inside and outside of Fayette County. He declined to elaborate because the case is still under investigation.
McFayden said he was not aware of any other cases besides the three police identified on Tuesday.
"Unfortunately for Ed, he's a big name in this town and that's going to bring some people out of the woodwork," McFayden said.
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 was chosen in the third round of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets, but he never played in the pro league.
Ivan Bennett of Russell Springs told the Herald-Leader Wednesday he gave Davender about $4,800 for season tickets. No charges have been filed against Davender in connection with Bennett.
Bennett, who owns Bennett's Carpet Inc., said he spoke to Davender often because Davender sold advertising for a collegiate publication. Bennett said his company gave Davender about $300 a year for the advertising for several years.
On Wednesday, Bennett said he wasn't sure if his company was ever mentioned in the publication.
In 2003, Bennett said he started giving money to Davender for season tickets. First, Davender said he was in a lottery system for tickets, Bennett said. Then Davender told him he might be able to obtain tickets because Rupp Arena was adding 80 seats, Bennett said.
"We thought he was trustworthy," he said.
Bennett said he never saw any tickets. For a while, Davender told Bennett he would return the money, Bennett said.
In 2007, Bennett said he received a letter from UK saying that Davender was no longer affiliated with the university.
Bennett said he contacted a local lawyer who did not aggressively pursue the case.
Bennett contacted police Wednesday morning after reading about Davender in the Herald-Leader.
"Actually, I was shocked," Bennett said. "Ed always seemed like such a nice, polite person."
Davender was also charged Tuesday 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.
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 pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday during an arraignment in district court. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 9. He was released from the Fayette County Detention Center about 9 p.m. Wednesday after posting bond.
Davender declined a request for an interview.
UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart also declined to comment.