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Morning Word: UNM Paid for Execs' Golf Junket

May 23, 2017, 7:30 am

UNM paid for businessmen to take Scotland golf trip
Earlier this month, KRQE revealed the University of New Mexico paid nearly $40,000 for athletic director Paul Krebs, former basketball coach Craig Neal and other Lobo athletics staff to golf at places like St. Andrews and Donald Trump's course in Scotland. It was supposed to be a fundraiser. After the story aired, Krebs apparently revealed that he hadn't told the whole truth: UNM, and hence the public, paid $24,000 for private businessmen to hit the links in the hope that they'd become donors. The interim president is standing by Krebs, whose salary tops $300,000 a year.

Tax reform plan awaits big reveal
It's arguably more complex than the budget lawmakers have to pass each year. But a 408-page bill that turns New Mexico's gross receipts tax system into something more closely resembling a sales tax is on the agenda for tomorrow's special session. Few lawmakers have seen the bill's details, which leads many to believe there's little appetite for taking on such a massive project in a two- or three-day session. If it holds the key to funding the budget bill passed by the Legislature in March, though, it may just get a hearing.

Regents' vote will wait
The state Senate won't be holding confirmation hearings in the upcoming special session for two appointees to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen says the Senate will deal with the confirmations during the interim so they'll be ready to go when the Senate returns next January. That's mud in the eye of Governor Martinez, who cited the unconfirmed nominees as part of her reason for vetoing the entire higher education budget for the state.

ABQ company first to benefit from NM investment fund
BayoTech, a company that uses chemical reactors to create agricultural fertilizer on-site, is the first company to benefit from the state's Catalyst Fund. Meant to spur investment in New Mexico companies, legislators and the governor created the fund with a $20 million investment. BayoTech got $300,000 from the fund, an amount that rises to $2 million when money from Catalyst partner Cottonwood Technology Funds and another private investor is added. The technology used by BayoTech was licensed from Sandia National Labs.

Closing arguments in Chan retrial
The case of ex-Santa Fe County deputy Tai Chan is expected to go to the jury after closing arguments this morning. Chan is accused of murdering fellow deputy Jeremy Martin in October 2014. It's the second trial for Chan, after a jury deadlocked last year and the judge ordered a mistrial. Chan and Martin were returning from a prisoner transport trip when Chan shot and killed Martin at a Las Cruces Hotel.

Educational lawsuit headed toward trial
A group that's suing the state of New Mexico over the education it provides to Native Americans, low-income students and English language learners lost its attempt to get a judge to decide the case before it ever goes to trial. The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty says the state is shirking its constitutional responsibility to provide quality education for all students. The Public Education Department says the group is resisting educational reform.

Udall wants hearing on state of journalism
Saying there's a "clear link between the strength of our democracy and the freedom of the press," US Senator Tom Udall and a colleague are calling for hearings on the journalism landscape. Udall and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan pointed to a recent FCC hearing where a reporter for Roll Call was pinned against the wall by security officers as he tried to ask a question on net neutrality. The hearings would be in front of the Senate Commerce Committee.

TCB for Elvis' old jet
It's been living a less-than-fabulous life on a runway in Roswell for the last 30 years, but a jet that used to belong to Elvis Presley is now up for auction.The company that's taking care of business expects to fetch at least $2 million, which is impressive, considering the 1962 Lockheed Jetstar doesn't have an engine or an updated cockpit. It does have red velvet upholstery and shag carpet, though. 

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if you have $2 million to spare, if you might consider sending us an email about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Oh, also, if you have a jet engine, that would help.

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