AG launches inquiry into UNM spending on golf trip | KOB 4
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AG launches inquiry into UNM spending on golf trip

The Associated Press and KOB.com Web Staff
May 26, 2017 06:54 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is launching a formal inquiry into the spending of public money by the University of New Mexico on a 2015 golf trip to Scotland that included athletics officials and private donors.

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"I'm concerned because it seems like public records were used to conceal the initial transactions and that there were misrepresentations as to the actual expenses," Balderas said.

Balderas sent a letter to the university's acting president Thursday, saying he's committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in state government.

"UNM is not allowed to operate as a private country club. They're required to follow state law just like other institutions," Balderas said.

Balderas went on to say that public admissions by Athletics Director Paul Krebs are contrary to the ethical standards he and other university officials must uphold and implicate violations of the state Governmental Conduct Act.

"I'm very concerned that public funds were used for personal gain,” Balderas said. “That there were private parties that benefitted from this lavish trip and that this was concealed. So if that occurred that would be a clear violation of law and we're required to enforce."

Krebs has said the $65,000 trip was meant to strengthen relationships with donors and that UNM had not planned to pay for the donors' trips.

The attorney general's action comes a day after the state Auditor's Office confirmed it also was reviewing the spending.

“As a public institution, The University of New Mexico welcomes the oversight of state offices charged with protecting taxpayers’ interests,” Interim President Chaouki Abdallah  said in a written statement. “We will cooperate fully with the State Auditor’s review and the Attorney General’s inquiry, and look forward to having both assessments completed in a timely manner.” 

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The Associated Press and KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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