New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has opened up an investigation involving the recent developments at UNM. The University of New Mexico’s Athletic Department, headed by Paul Krebs, spent over $60,000 of public funds for a week long golf vacation that may violate New Mexico's anti-donation clause.
“...He (Krebs) had full knowledge in 2015,” Balderas said, “that public funds were used to pay for the expenses of private individuals.”
The investigation is coming just weeks after an anonymous individual called the fraud, waste, and abuse hotline with information on the situation.
The University and UNM President Chaouki Abdallah will be in full cooperation with the investigation. Abdallah sent out an emailed statement on Thursday,
“As a public institution, the University of New Mexico welcomes the oversight of state offices charged with protecting taxpayers’ interests. 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.”
Balderas responded with, “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.”
A key aspect throughout this whole process is if Krebs is fired because evidence shows he violated the state’s constitution, the University would not owe him a dime of the remaining contract money good through 2019. As of right now, Krebs has no plans of stepping down and will let the investigation play itself out.
Krebs claimed that due to some unexpected occurrences, the University had to pay for three of the potential donors trips.
“The original plan was for UNM to not pay for any donors, but due to some late cancellations because of unforeseen circumstances, we had three golf trips that were paid for but would have been unused,” Krebs told the Albuquerque Journal.
“The original plan was to have this reimbursed back, but in reviewing documents, it was noticed that this didn't happen.”
It is unknown if the University or the three business men have had any contact about paying the money owed back to UNM. In the days since, the $25,000 the University spent on the business men has been paid by an anonymous donor. There are no further details on the donation or the investigation.