September 27, 2017

Report: More improper spending at UNM Athletics


Statue of a Lobo on the University of New Mexico campus. Flickr cc

A former athletics director at the University of New Mexico spent public money on friends and family for a trip to the finals of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

That’s the latest from a KRQE-TV investigative report this week .

The report looked into the credit card spending of former Athletic Director Paul Krebs for  trips to the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in multiple years.

Krebs resigned in June amid investigations into his spending, including a golf trip to Scotland where public funds paid for donors’ expenses.

Related: UNM announces new fiscal oversight on athletics

This time the TV station found that Krebs charged over $30,000 for trips to men’s basketball Final Four games, from 2014 to 2017. It came a time where the university struggled with budget problems and increasing tuition.

In 2014, Krebs charged $6,000 to the university for the trip, then nearly $7,500 in 2015, $6,400 in 2016 and more than $13,000 in 2017.

Krebs’ contract allowed for his spouse and dependant children to travel at the university’s expense. And he took advantage of that.

In 2016, for example, Krebs used the money to pay for tickets to NCAA Final Four games for his wife and son.

But it wasn’t just family members. The university also paid for a sports marketing executive’s game tickets.  Two more tickets went to Jamie Koch, then a UNM Regent. Koch said he gave the tickets to a friend, who never paid for them.

The 2017 number was larger because of more tickets. From KRQE:

Paul’s wife got a seat, so did Paul’s children, and his three brothers. UNM Vice President David Harris got two tickets. So did Regent Rob Doughty as well as Associate Athletic Director Ed Manzanares and his three children.

More money went to travel to NCAA Division I Football Championship games.

KRQE reports that the money suddenly started being paid back four months after the 2017 trip. Some of the money was paid back by the Lobo Club, a non-profit organization that seeks to raise money for scholarships for student-athletes. KRQE says the money came out of the organization’s scholarship fund.

And those repayments? The came at the same time as KRQE’s previous investigation into the Scotland golf trip.