Maxcey denies spending $2,000 for escorts

Updated: May 24, 2004, 12:19 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- A former University of Colorado football recruiting aide at the center of the school's recruitment scandal is denying allegations that he paid $2,000 to an escort service.

"I have no idea where that figure comes from," Nathan Maxcey said Sunday in a telephone interview from his parents' home in Texas. "I make $2,000 a month so I'm not going to blow that kind of money when I have rent and bills to pay."

The allegations are part of a scandal that has roiled the university for months. On Tuesday, an independent commission investigating the case said sex, alcohol and drugs were used to lure football recruits to the University of Colorado and lax oversight by top university officials was to blame.

A grand jury convened to hear evidence in the case Friday -- the first indication of possible criminal charges. A former manager of the escort service, Pasha Cowan, was one of three witnesses who testified before the panel.

Cowan has said women from her agency were hired to go to a hotel where Colorado football recruits are often housed during campus visits. Through their attorneys, three women from the escort service told the commission that Maxcey paid them in cash and arranged sex for other young men at the hotel.

A recent university audit found Maxcey made nearly $1,200 worth of calls to the escort service and a chat line from his school-issued cell phone. He has repaid the university some $900.

The commission asked state Attorney General Ken Salazar to look into the circumstances surrounding Maxcey, who was a Colorado recruiting aide in 2002 and 2003.

Maxcey, 28, confirmed he's been contacted by Salazar's investigators, who plan to take his testimony in Texas. But he denied the escort service workers' allegations.

"The very idea that we turn in a receipt for an escort service, is absolutely absurd. The school would have looked at us like we were insane," Maxcey said.

Maxcey said he looked up the escort service number in the phone book and saw Cowan at his apartment on two occasions. Although he said he never met or talked with other women employed by the agency, Maxcey acknowledged that he spoke with Cowan several times on the phone.

"We talked about everything," he said, including how she wanted to change her profession. "Then she asked me to help her get a job. I told her I'm nobody and said she should contact the school's human resources department."

Maxcey added, "If I knew then, what I know now about Pasha's character, I would not have talked to her, ever."

Mark Johnson, Cowan's lawyer, did not immediately return a message left at his office Sunday afternoon.

Maxcey's duties included picking up recruits and checking them in at the hotel, the Omni Interlocken. He also helped plan their weekends and ferried them and their hosts across the Boulder area as they met with professors, coaches and spent unsupervised time in the city.

Of the allegations of drugs, alcohol and sex, Maxcey said, "If recruits were set up with anything, it was without my knowledge and I had nothing to do with it. I don't believe the coaches did neither." He added that he never dropped recruits off at a party.

Another element of the scandal involves allegations from at least nine women that they were raped by football players or recruits since 1997. Three of the women have filed federal lawsuits, but Salazar decided against charges in the alleged assaults, citing evidentiary concerns and the reluctance of the women to go forward with the cases.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press