Fiesta Bowl cans long-time CEO Junker


The results of a months-long internal investigation into alleged campaign contribution violations and other financial misconduct are in, and the findings were not kind to the long-time leader of the BcS bowl.

John Junker, who was placed on indefinite administrative leave back in February, has been “terminated with cause“, the Fiesta Bowl announced Tuesday afternoon.  Junker was named the bowl’s executive director in 1990, and was promoted to president and chief executive officer in 2000.

In the report released by the bowl this afternoon, which can be read in its entirety HERE, it was determined that at least $46,500 in illegal campaign contributions were funneled to various politicians by the bowl and its employees.  It was found that employees were encouraged to write checks to specific political candidates, and were then reimbursed by the bowl with bogus bonuses.

Junker may also face criminal charges relating to the campaign contributions, although the report did not conclude one way or the other whether he had broken any laws.  Another offshoot of the investigation could be that the Fiesta Bowl’s tax-exempt status could be called into question based on the questionable manner in which funds were handled by an entity that’s technically considered a charity.

Additionally, Bill Hancock, commissioner of the BcS, told the Arizona Republic that the Fiesta Bowl could lose its spot in the championship series.

“The BCS group takes this matter very seriously and will consider whether they keep a BCS bowl game, and we will consider other appropriate sanctions,” Hancock told the paper. “If the bowl does remain a BCS bowl its handling of thing will be closely monitored going forward.”

Among the numerous allegations of impropriety levied against Junker, the investigation into the not-for-profit found that the bowl had spent $33,000 on a four-day Pebble Beach party to celebrate Junker’s 50th birthday back in 2005.  The report also details a trip Junker and two other individuals took to a Phoenix strip club, after which he expensed the $1,200 spent that night.  Junker claimed there were valid business reasons behind the nudity.

“We are in the business where big strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments. It was important for us to visit and we certainly conducted business.”

You certainly did, Mr. Junker.  You certainly did.

Junker, who earned in excess of $600,000 as the Fiesta Bowl’s CEO, also received several perks from the bowl.  Among those perks were memberships at four country clubs, paid for by the bowl.  If you want to get an idea of just how unscrupulous Junker is/was, read the following excerpt from the report:

Based on current rates, the Fiesta Bowl pays $10,800 per year for Junker’s membership at Whisper Rock Golf Club. Memberships in the Whisper Rock Golf Club for Junker and Blouin were purchased through separate $100,000 interest-free loans that the Fiesta Bowl granted to Junker and Blouin in April 2002. Under the terms of the promissory notes, Junker and Blouin were to each pay back the $100,000 loan through a $10,000 payment made to the Fiesta Bowl each year. Junker’s and Blouin’s compensation was then increased each year by $10,000, plus tax withholding, so that the additional payment made by the Fiesta Bowl would net to $10,000.

After reading the full report, it makes perfect sense that a bowl such as the Fiesta is in bed with a cartel like the BcS.  The two entities are truly a match made in gutter heaven.