The former second in command in the UNM Athletics Department who announced in early November that he would be leaving to take a job with the United States Tennis Association in Florida has quietly remained on the school’s payroll and was given a new job in January as a “professional consultant.”
UNM this week confirmed former deputy athletic director Tim Cass, who is now the general manager of the USTA’s National Campus in Orlando, started a two-year agreement on Jan. 24 with the title of “professional consultant” earning an annual salary of $23,776.
He resignation from his previous job was effective one day earlier on Jan. 23.
The university on Thursday also confirmed Cass will not face discipline related to a recent audit investigation that uncovered the alleged embezzlement of $63,000 by a former Lobo men’s basketball staffer.
That investigation alleges former operations director Cody Hopkins misused the team’s purchasing card (P-card) over a five-month period.
Hopkins and Cass, in his previous position, had regular meetings specifically related to use of that P-card during the time the internal audit said the misuse of funds was taking place, but wasn’t identified by Cass or others.
“The investigation did not indicate that Tim had adequate and detailed knowledge of any inappropriate employee conduct,” according to a statement UNM gave to the Journal on Thursday.
As part of his new consulting role with UNM, one of his job duties is to “assist with securing and scheduling USTA junior, adult, collegiate events at UNM,” according to a memo dated Nov. 24 sent to human resources proposing the new job by Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs.
It is unclear why UNM did not announce Cass’ new consulting job. It did not list him as an employee on a staff directory that includes more than 200 Athletics Department employees.
The last mention of Cass by the university’s media relations department was when it sent out a news release Nov. 4 announcing he was leaving UNM and ending “an over 20-year association between Cass and the school.”
His former UNM email address has an automatic reply stating he has a new job at the USTA and gives his new email address there as a contact.
Asked what Cass has done in his new role since January, Krebs told the Journal : “He is working on establishing a graduate program in tennis management in the HESS (Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences) department at UNM, assisting in stewarding and cultivating several key donors and consulting on tennis-related issues, including attracting tennis events to UNM.”
Cass did not reply to requests for comment at his new USTA email address or from a voice mail left at the USTA’s main switchboard. The UNM media relations office acknowledged that Cass received a Journal email requesting comment.
Last week, UNM told the Journal three employees were being disciplined for policy violations related to the Hopkins audit, and that “another administrative-level employee who served in a supervisory role is no longer employed by the university in this capacity. The change in employment was for reasons unrelated to this case and prior to any disciplinary action being considered.”
Asked whether that unnamed person was Cass, Krebs referred questions to the university’s media relations office, which sent the Journal an email Thursday that states: “The details of the investigation, as they relate to both employees past and present, are a personnel matter, and will not be discussed.”
Two employees were identified by name as being disciplined, and a third was not named as she is still allowed to appeal a potential suspension. Why the other “administrative-level employee” who is not being disciplined was mentioned at all is unclear.
Hopkins, meanwhile, has not been charged with a crime. UNM’s investigation into the alleged embezzlement, including the internal audit findings, was referred to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office and remains “under review” there, according to a DA’s spokesman.
UNM reported last month that its audit investigation cost more than $64,000 in staff man-hours.