AG report details UNM's 'flagrant abuse of transparency laws'
Marian Camacho, Ryan Laughlin
September 06, 2018 05:12 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A report released by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General details what the office calls the flagrant abuse of transparency laws by University of New Mexico officials.
According to the report, UNM displayed a disturbing pattern of concealment and deliberate misrepresentation violating the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act.
A review of UNM's records, reveals emails from former UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs, directing people to delete public records and mislead those who requested public records.
One such email outlined in the report came from Krebs on May 11, 2017, stating "...suggest you delete all texts and any emails related to reinstatement skiing. Delete this email as well."
Among the emails given in the AG's report was also one from Krebs, discussing his controversial trip to Scotland.
He wrote in part: "Bigger issue is that I was not forthcoming with the press re Scotland," wrote Krebs. "I did not share all the information and costs initially last week, in part for the reasons you suggested below. I misled them and our donors on our actual expenses and this will come out in the next several days if not weeks."
"To advise officials at UNM to delete information and to not produce information to the public is a black eye for the University of New Mexico," said Attorney General Hector Balderas.
Krebs retired amid the allegations of money mismanagement after the golf trip to Scotland.
Another finding in the report was in UNM's violation of the Open Meetings Act just this past July as regents met to decide the fate of four UNM sports programs.
According to the report, the Board of Regents failed to give the public "meaningful notice" of the intention to vote on the cutting of the programs.
The report also details seven complaints on the university's handling of public information requests.
Balderas said he has a meeting scheduled with UNM's president, while a criminal investigation moves forward.
UNM released the following statement:
As a large and complex public institution, The University’s mission to serve the people of this state can only be successful if it has the trust and support of the public.
“We seek to immediately correct errors and omissions, and improve on current processes and policies. We are also absolutely committed to adhering to state law,” said UNM President Garnett Stokes. “I have emphatically expressed my willingness to work with the AG’s office to ensure that UNM is transparent, cooperative and in compliance with the law. New Mexicans deserve that from the state’s flagship institution.”
The University has received 535 IPRA requests in 2018, an increase of 37% over the same period in 2017. To better facilitate timely response, UNM has added a support position for the custodian of public records. As of September 1, the fees charged in association with larger requests have been suspended pending a review of the current practice. With regard to records management and retention, the University developed an administrative policy that was adopted in July.
See the AG's report in its entirety, including the emails, by clicking here.
Marian Camacho, Ryan Laughlin
Updated: September 06, 2018 05:12 PM
Created: September 06, 2018 11:12 AM
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