Chat TV fixture/hoax artist Ken Tarr was arrested Monday morning after making a series of prank calls to various hoops and football coaches under the guise of job offers. From NBC News’s Andrew Blankstein :
Tarr, 32, was booked Monday morning on suspicion of felony eavesdropping by LAPD Hollywood Division detectives for recording phone calls with sports figures without their permission, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s booking records and LAPD officials. Under California law, it is illegal to record someone without their consent.
At least a dozen coaches from the NFL, NBA and college football teams were victims of the illegal eavesdropping, including University of Hawaii Coach Norm Chow, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and San Diego Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, sources familiar with the investigation said.
In one of the most high-profile stunts that’s part of the LAPD investigation, Tarr allegedly telephoned former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy to offer him the head coaching job at the University of Southern California, sources said. Although the school ultimately offered the position to Steve Sarkisian, the prank led to confusion and denials from both USC and Dungy.
In October, after emailing a writer for the sports website “Deadspin” an email with the subject line “Hi I hoaxed Tony Dungy, “ someone called Kenny Tarr boasted to the writer that he’d made dozens of calls to sports figures.
“I’m amazed that they’re returning any of these calls,” he said. He also sent the writer a video recording of a phone call with basketball coach Mark Jackson in which he claimed to be a liaison working for the Los Angeles Lakers in their search for a new head coach.
Presumably, the head-hunting call to Leslie Frazier occurred prior to the 2013 NFL campaign.