A house painter has accused MU assistant basketball coach Tony Harvey of giving him free MU basketball and football tickets as partial payment for painting sections of Harvey’s Columbia home. The painter is suing Harvey for nearly $5,000 still owed.
Ken Hensel of 2605 Oak Gate Court, who lives around the block from Harvey, filed the lawsuit Jan. 16 in Boone County Circuit Court claiming Harvey defaulted on their “oral contract” in which Hensel would paint interior sections and the pool house of Harvey’s residence at 2605 Chambray Road in exchange for MU football and basketball tickets.
The lawsuit claims Harvey agreed to give Hensel tickets to any MU football game he wanted, in addition to tickets to several MU men’s basketball games, in exchange for painting work valued at $5,475.
If the allegations are true, the act would violate the university’s policy prohibiting employees from exchanging “university property” for personal gain, said Tim Hickman, associate athletic director for operations.
In the lawsuit, Hensel claims Harvey gave him a total of 13 tickets valued at $525 for two men’s basketball exhibition games and two football games — against Illinois and Nebraska. The lawsuit charges that Harvey stopped supplying Hensel tickets after November 2003 and still owes him $4,950 for painting a bedroom, a bathroom, wicker furniture, a pool house veranda, a metal gate and fencing around the pool.
Harvey said he did nothing wrong.
“I did not break any NCAA rules,” Harvey said. “I did not break any ticket procedure rules. I disagree with the allegations, but there was work done on my house. I would never have a person come in and do some work and not pay a person for the work that we decided.”
Neither Hensel nor his attorney Rodney Stevens returned telephone calls Tuesday evening.
The MU Athletic Department extends two complimentary season tickets to men’s basketball and football games for coaches and players, said Chad Moller, spokesman for the department. However, staff may request additional free tickets from a pool of available seats depending on consumer demand, he said.
Moller said he does not know the details of Hensel’s claim that Harvey bartered tickets to get his house painted.
“That’s a personal matter, so there is no stance on that at all from us,” Moller said.
The lawsuit comes less than a month after allegations against the athletic department were made public in recorded telephone calls from the Boone County Jail by former MU basketball guard Ricky Clemons.
“I didn’t violate any ticket policy,” Harvey said. “Because of where we’re at as a program, we’re being scrutinized. It was a personal matter that went bad, that I had no control over and I don’t know where it came from.”
A summons was issued for Harvey’s appearance, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in Boone County Court.