Sen. Tom Wagoner said Friday that he would introduce a resolution today directing the Alaska House to begin an impeachment trial to remove indicted University of Alaska Regent James C. Hayes.
In a press release issued Friday, Wagoner said he had thought long and hard before deciding to move toward impeachment proceedings.
“I have met the gentleman,” Wagoner said. “I have served with him on the postsecondary commission. I like him as a person, but when the university is put in the position that they have a regent who has been indicted by the federal government, I think that casts a pall over the whole Board of Regents and the university administration.”
Hayes was recently indicted by a federal grand jury for multiple counts of theft, conspiracy and money laundering. He and his wife were charged with improperly diverting $825,000 from federal grants supposed to aid a nonprofit group LOVE Social Services Inc. He also was accused of using his title and the university seal in efforts to secure funding for the nonprofit.
With all that hanging over his head, Hayes has refused even Gov. Sarah Palin’s request that he step down from this position as a university regent, a seat he officially holds until 2011.
A copy of the resolution provided by Wagoner states that the Senate is informed of the serious allegations resulting in the indictment, and notes that Hayes is innocent until proven guilty.
However, it goes on, saying, “the allegations and indictment alone raise serious concerns about Mr. Hayes’ ability to fully execute his duties as a University of Alaska regent based on the time and significant resources required to defend himself.”
It also notes that Hayes failed to attend 44 percent of the meetings of the board in 2006 and both full-board meetings held in 2007.
The resolution states, “the Senate finds by clear and convincing evidence” that Hayes committed an impeachable offenses by using the seal to secure funding for personal use, and for showing an inability or unwillingness carry out his duties to the University of Alaska.
The resolution, which does not yet have a number, would need approval by two-thirds of the Senate to compel the House to initiate an impeachment trial. The Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court would preside over such a trial.
Wagoner said Friday that Hayes’ refusal to step down while the legal issues were resolved ultimately led him to consider the impeachment resolution.
“Enough is enough,” Wagoner said.
Hal Spence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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