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Ex-Fiesta Bowl Top Executive To Plead Guilty To Felony Charge

As the AP reports, the former top executive of the Fiesta Bowl entered a guilty plea Tuesday to a felony charge related to a political donations scandal.

As the AP reports, the former top executive of the Fiesta Bowl entered a guilty plea Tuesday to a felony charge related to a political donations scandal.

Michelle Price, of the AP, provides details:

John Junker entered the plea in Phoenix for his role in soliciting political contributions from Fiesta Bowl employees. The bowl later reimbursed employees for about $48,000 over a nine-year period.

The plea is part of an agreement with Arizona prosecutors in connection with the scandal that led to the firing last year of Junker, the bowl's longtime leader, and the resignation of chief operating officer, Natalie Wisneski.

As that report points out, the Fiesta Bowl escaped serious ramifications:

The Fiesta Bowl hosts college football's national championship game every four years. The scandal nearly jeopardized the Fiesta Bowl's role as one of the four top-tier national bowl groups. The organization was spared the worst sanctions - the loss of the championship game and its NCAA license.

A 276-page bowl investigation report found the "apparent scheme" to reimburse at least $46,539 for employees' political contributions. It also reported lavish spending by Junker.

University of Arizona President John Shelton is now the president and CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, and has been cooperating with the investigation and taking steps to safeguard against a repeat.