November 29, 2016

Sponsor of The Pit asked AD to donate to state senate candidate

Wikimedia Commons

The inside of The Pit

The owners of WisePies, the company that has the naming rights to the legendary University of New Mexico basketball arena known to most as The Pit, solicited political donations from the university’s athletic director.

NM Fishbowl, a news website focusing on UNM, first reported on the news earlier this week.

WisePies, a pizza chain located primarily in the Albuquerque area, owns the naming rights to The Pit. The arena is officially called WisePies Arena aka The Pit.

According to the NM Fishbowl story, a spokesperson for WisePies asked UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs if he and his wife would co-host a campaign fundraiser for Candace Gould, a Republican then running for state Senate.

Gould narrowly defeated Democrat David Simon in the Senate District 10 race.

In an email discussion with his wife, who works at UNM as an associate professor, Krebs wrote, “Yes, inform Season as state employees we are strongly advised not to have are [sic] name appear in these kinds of events. We will gladly come and invite folks if that helps. We can make another donation.”

Marjorie Krebs donated $350 to Gould.

In 2008, UNM men’s basketball coach Steve Alford caused controversy when he attended a fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Darren White.

The invitation said Alford would pose for photos for those who donated $1,000. Alford then said he would not pose for the photos and would not endorse a candidate.

Paul Krebs, at the time the UNM athletics vice president, told the Albuquerque Journal that he asked Alford to attend the event in a networking capacity.