ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The 2017 edition of the Best of Larry Barker takes a look at some of his best investigations this year. We will look back at a neighbor no one wants and how criminals are getting away with not paying up. However, one of his biggest stories this year has sparked other investigations that reviled so much about the University of New Mexico’s Athletic Department.
It all started as a tip about a luxurious, week-long golfing holiday trip to Scotland. In May, Larry Barker exposed how the guest list included UNM VIP’s and how New Mexican’s paid for it. The hefty price tag included six nights in luxury hotels, meals and five rounds of golf at championship courses. A total of 23 participants signed up for the June 2015 golfing holiday. The group included then Vice President of UNM Athletics Paul Krebs, his son, wife, his in-laws, former head Lobo basketball coach Craig Neal and his wife along with a number of loyal Lobo boosters and fans.
The initial story put a lot of scrutiny on Paul Krebs who was paid more than $400,000 a year. After the initial investigations, tips started flowing into Larry and hinted that there was so much more mismanagement in UNM Athletics other than the golf trip.
Paul Krebs retired on June 2, after Larry’s second story, but there was so much more. In July Larry exposed how the UNM Athletics Department had a complete disregard for collecting public funds for the luxury suites at the Pit.
The investigation did not end there. Larry then looked into how the UNM Athletic’s Department, mainly Paul Krebs, was using their state credit cards. Krebs used his UNM credit card to fund trips to some of the hottest sporting events in the United States. One example was the NCAA Final Four three years ago. UNM picked up the $6,000 tab which included several thousand dollars for tickets, airfare, $968 for Krebs’ hotel room and another $1,900 for his brother’s hotel room. Following Larry’s investigation, Krebs reimbursed the university $1,900.
In November, then State Auditor Tim Keller released his investigation into UNM Athletics. The audit was basically a comprehensive look at all of Larry’s investigations. It pointed out how widespread the mismanagement became. Currently, the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is still investigating the mess to see if any criminal charges will be filed against anyone involved.
Read all of Larry Barker’s investigations on the UNM Athletics Department below:
- UNM sends Lobo execs on golf junket at public expense
- Scotland Golf Fiasco: UNM official drops a bombshell
- “Suite” Surprise: UNM reveals $432K uncollected fees from business, individuals
- Former UNM Athletic Director misspends public funds on friends, family
In February Larry told you about a man who was conning homeowners, businesses, fraternal organizations, government agencies and at least four churches. The three-month investigation uncovered a dangerous fraud scheme involving tens of thousands of dollars, a shadowy fugitive and a popular elected official.
After a five-month investigation, Larry uncovered a dangerous public safety problem hidden away behind the walls of the New Mexico’s Prison System. The fiasco is not only costing taxpayers millions of dollars, but affecting lives as well. The issue relates to understaffing. Over the last two years, taxpayers have shelled out tens of millions of dollars to compensate for inadequate staffing at all New Mexico prison facilities across the state. The Department of Correction’s records shows that state officials have failed to hire enough Correctional Officers to control inmates.
Full Story: 13 Investigates: The costly crisis behind bars
A six month investigation, found a loophole in New Mexico law that allows convicted felons to beat the system and all types of criminals are being handed a free ride. The investigation found that convicted criminals don’t pay their victim restitution, even though state law requires it. Prosecutors and judges are also powerless to force criminals to comply with court-ordered restitution. This loophole is caused by a provision that is tucked into the Victim Restitution Act that gives the state authority to enforce court-ordered restitution ONLY during an offender’s probation or parole period.
In May, Larry Barker introduced you to an unusual man who defies the law and wreaks havoc in his community. Hidden away in a pleasant central Santa Fe neighborhood is the cities most infamous address, 1004 Calle Feliz. In the front yard there are derelict cars, a dilapidated camping trailer, canned food, a car door, a dingy mattress, a truck bed, assorted junk, trash and filth. This is also not an abandoned rat trap. The homeowner, John Valerio, is a self-described “collector” of sorts.
Full Story: Santa Fe’s Notorious Nightmare Neighbor