$432K went unpaid for luxury suites at The Pit, documents reveal | KOB 4

$432K went unpaid for luxury suites at The Pit, documents reveal

Brittany Costello
July 14, 2017 10:10 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Attorney’s General Office is looking into whether the University of New Mexico failed to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from those wealthy fans, calling the situation embarrassing and appalling.


New documents obtained Friday reveal just how much: nearly $500,000 missing in unpaid suites bills and tickets at The Pit. This comes after UNM athletic director Paul Krebs announced his retirement amid allegations of money mismanagement after a golf trip to Scotland.

"We're concerned about private citizens enjoying the benefit of this public facility that was built with public dollars,” Balderas said. "… I'm concerned that there were freebies some potentially allowed."

New documents reveal just how many freebies there were. Dating back to 2010, a handful of businesses, former athletes, and even university regents were either not billed or failed to pay, in total, $432,641 for the luxury suites.

Click here to see those documents.

It includes Kenny Thomas, a former Lobo turned pro athlete. In 2014 he pledged $32,000 for Pit suites and nearly $8,000 for tickets. But that $40,000 was never paid.

That's just a drop in the bucket. From 2014 to 2015, Integrated Control Systems racked up a tab of nearly $70,000. Notes on that document indicate an attempt to collect that money owed "may have been a conversation with P. Krebs."

Downtown high-tech company Lavu is on the hook for nearly $35,000 in suite costs and nearly $8,000 more for tickets. Again, the more than $40,000 was never paid. Lavu President Ohad Jehassi sent KOB a statement regarding those unpaid tickets:

"The current leadership of Lavu was not informed of the balance owed to the UNM Athletic Department neither by the previous leadership nor by UNM. Lavu is working to resolve this issue with the executives that led Lavu prior to the company acquisition in June 2015. We are still waiting for initial contact and documentation from the university and hope to resolve this issue quickly."

KOB reached out to UNM Friday. Acting Athletic Director Janice Ruggiero sent this statement:

"The University of New Mexico is continuing to work with individuals and businesses to reconcile records pertaining to unpaid suites in the basketball arena. UNM’s Athletic Department and the Lobo Club are working together to develop a plan for collection of these accounts. A concerted effort is underway to notify suite holders to address the outstanding balances. After only a few days, a number have paid in full and UNM plans to update the status of the balance sheet as soon as next week."


Brittany Costello

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


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