ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tom Knauber’s fate as a potential criminal defendant now rests in the hands of the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.
Albuquerque Public Schools has forwarded to the DA’s Office its investigation into the former Sandia High School athletic director, who is accused of planting drug paraphernalia in the office of boys basketball coach Alvin Broussard.
It will be up to the district attorney to decide whether criminal charges should be filed against Knauber. He was not fired by APS, which said last month it had only enough evidence to transfer him. Knauber has been moved to Volcano Vista High, where he will teach social studies.
Meanwhile, Broussard’s attorney, Leon Howard, said that Broussard has suffered “severe emotional distress” as a result of this episode.
“Now that we have the evidence, we will explore whatever legal remedies we can to vindicate Alvin,” Howard said. “He has to be made whole.”
As Knauber has a history of suspicious behavior, Howard said, “he was a known risk, and we think APS is liable for creating a dangerous situation, and we think they’re absolutely liable. If APS doesn’t reach out, then we’re prepared to move forward with a suit against APS and Knauber, if necessary.”
The APS police report does not paint Knauber in a flattering light.
Campus video surveillance revealed that Knauber arrived at Sandia on Friday, April 18, the final day of spring break, in his personal vehicle “which he parked in an unusual location,” according to the report, which doesn’t specify the location.
Knauber is shown on video entering Broussard’s office, and, according to the APS report, he is “clearly seen entering Broussard’s office with (what) looks like a bag in his hand and a short time later exit(s) that office with nothing in his hands.”
The Journal had previously reported that a pot pipe, contrary to initial media reports, was never one of the items found in Broussard’s office.
The APS report does give an account of what was found: a digital scale, a marijuana grinder and sandwich baggies. But no drugs.
Two minutes after entering Broussard’s office, the report states, Knauber exited and “is seen looking up and down the hallway.”
Broussard, when questioned, vehemently denied that the items belonged to him. APS put Knauber on paid administrative leave during its investigation. Broussard was not placed on leave.
APS tried to interview Knauber, but, through his attorney he refused to cooperate.
The APS report makes repeated references to odd and suspicious behavior from Knauber throughout its investigation.
The anonymous phone tip that was phoned in to Sandia on the Monday after spring break was made directly to Knauber, who deleted the message. Moreover, Knauber first claimed the tip was made to his office phone, then later said it was made to his cell phone, according to the APS report.
“This seemed out of character for Mr. Knauber, in that whenever he had received messages in the past Mr. Knauber was more than willing to share it with … officers. It also seemed odd that an Administrator would delete evidence of potential wrong doing by a staff member,” reads a section of the report.
Knauber also “failed or refused” to allow other Sandia administrators to hear the aforementioned phone message.
The search of Broussard’s office, APS officers said, was also somewhat bizarre, in that Knauber seemed to know exactly where to look. The baggies, scale and grinder were found – by Knauber – under a mobile cabinet.
According to the report: “It was clear to (multiple APS detectives) that someone with specific knowledge would have to know where to find those contraband items. It didn’t seem to make sense either for it to be just lying under the cabinet as explained when the contraband could have been locked in a more secure environment like the file cabinet or desk.”
And, as has long been rumored, the APS report appears to finally confirm the reason for this entire episode in the first place, according to what Broussard told police.
Knauber, in a conversation with Broussard earlier in April, made clear his desire that one of his sons should coach basketball at Sandia.
Broussard informed police that he told Knauber that he had no intention of leaving and that there were no openings for an assistant on his coaching staff. That conversation occurred about two weeks before the drug contraband was found in Broussard’s office.
“While there is no specific evidence to positively link Mr. Knauber with planting evidence in Alvin Broussard’s office, there are a number of circumstantial facts that cannot be ignored,” APS Detective Gary Georgia said in his report.