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K-State case seems bound for minutiae: CASE OVER CONTRACT FILLED WITH LEGALESE
[May 22, 2009]

K-State case seems bound for minutiae: CASE OVER CONTRACT FILLED WITH LEGALESE

May 22, 2009 (The Wichita Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- On Aug. 7, 2008, the Intercollegiate Athletic Council of Kansas State University entered into a memorandum of understand with In Pursuit of Perfection. In the document, former athletic director Bob Krause signed on behalf of the "IAC" and former football coach Ron Prince signed on behalf of "IPP." On Dec. 23, 2008, Prince formed IPP, registering the limited liability corporation with the Kansas Department of Revenue.

On Thursday at roughly 9:30 a.m., a K-State assistant attorney named Peter Paukstelis reserved the limited liability company name "In Pursuit of Perfection" with the Department of Revenue, paying $30 for the privilege.

"I really can't talk about that," Paukstelis said Thursday when reached by phone.

If Wednesday's suit in Riley County District Court wasn't a strong enough signal of K-State's belief it shouldn't be liable for the $3.2 million promised to Prince in a so-called "secret" deal, Thursday's events served notice this might be a war waged on technicalities.

In particular, whether the contract is binding if Prince's corporation wasn't even in existence at the time of the signing, and if the contract is binding, who wins? Who receives the payments? Prince or K-State? "It's certainly the stuff lawsuits are made of," said Linda Parks, a managing partner with the Wichita law firm of Hite, Fanning & Honeyman. "Even if (K-State) didn't have a contract with an entity (in place), it seems (Prince) is going to have a good argument that they have an agreement with him." Parks said she wasn't a sports fan and that she knew little of the case in question, but this all sounded somewhat familiar.

"Whether they have an argument that (Krause) wasn't authorized (to make a deal), now that's a better argument," she said. "There is apparent authority -- apparently, he had the authority. If he had apparent authority, then the other party can rely on it.

"There are lots of arguments over apparent authority." It's going to be difficult moving forward, Parks warned.

"There is a lot of gray area in this," she said. "Mistakes were made on both sides. It's not black and white, not cut and dried. When everything is fleshed out, it may be something that as a matter of law the court can rule on, as opposed to 'he said, she said.' " She paused.

"But it also looks like a case that will probably be settled." Jeffrey Martin covers Kansas State sports. Reach him at 316-269-6763 or at [email protected].

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