Two weeks after the retirement of Athletic Director Paul Krebs and the naming of Janice Ruggiero as interim director, investigations by state officials into athletic department spending continue.
In a letter to President Abdallah, Attorney General Hector Balderas explained he was opening an investigation into “the University of New Mexico Vice President of Athletics, Paul Krebs, and the June 19, 2015, through June 25, 2015, golf trip to Scotland.”
State Auditor Tim Keller also opened a special audit into the spending record of UNM Athletics, which includes the same golf trip. The investigations come after the athletic department reported a $1.6 million deficit over the last fiscal year.
UNM Athletics spent over $38,000 to send Paul Krebs, former men’s basketball coach Craig Neal, and a top administrator from the UNM Foundation to Scotland for six days, where they played golf with three non-UNM employees. Originally redacted from the release of expenditures was that these three private citizens were also paid for by UNM Athletics, bringing the total cost of the trip to about $63,000.
Krebs has acknowledged publicly that after “reviewing notes from the trip” he was aware that these individuals were paid for, but that a reimbursement was expected.
The reimbursement never came through.
An anonymous donor later gave the UNM Foundation $25,000 to cover the cost of the trip for the three non-UNM employees.
In the letter, AG Balderas stated, “it is clear by his public admission that actions taken by Vice President Krebs are contrary to the high ethical standards he and all University officials must uphold and implicate violations of the (Governmental Conduct Act),” adding, “this acknowledgment, in and of itself, demands swift and appropriate corrective action by the University. It should be noted that violation of the provisions of the GCA by any public officer is grounds for discipline, up to and including dismissal.”
Of additional concern was the mislabeling of the trip as a men’s basketball tournament in Ireland. Part of the investigation will attempt to determine whether this was intentional.
Seven days after the opening of this investigation on June 2nd, Paul Krebs announced his retirement effective June 30th. While he did say that the timing of the retirement had to due with “recent events,” he also maintained that he is “not running from anything”.
Interim President Abdallah has expressed his support for Krebs and his leadership of UNM Athletics, saying “his tenure will go down as the most productive and successful in school history.”
The investigations are ongoing and have not had any official updates. Both Balderas and Keller have stated that Krebs’ retirement will not affect the course of the investigations.
Gabriella Rivera is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gabbychlamps.