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Investigative Report Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations

Investigative Report Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations

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Published by The Texas Exes
Report to the Texas House committee on transparency in state agency operations on the actions of UT Regent Wallace Hall.
Report to the Texas House committee on transparency in state agency operations on the actions of UT Regent Wallace Hall.

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Published by: The Texas Exes on Apr 09, 2014
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04/15/2014

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Hall used employees of the UT System, the UT System’s outside counsel, and his

personal counsel to keep tabs on the Committee’s investigation. His preparation for the

investigation began less than a month after the Speaker’s Proclamation. On July 15,

2013, Hall wrote to Frederick and tasked her with gathering “all of the legislative

requests that have been made to the System and to the Board.”405

Hall said he wanted the

documents the same day he requested them “in preparation for [his] anticipated

appearance” before the Committee.406

Hall inquired of the UT System’s Vice Chancellor

for Government Relations about the Committee’s “plans” prior to the October hearings at

which witnesses were first expected to testify.407

When witnesses were interviewed by the Committee’s investigative staff, Hall

insisted on receiving and received copies of notes from the UT System’s attorneys who

attended interviews of Cigarroa, Frederick, Sharphorn, and Holthaus.408

Hall inquired

whether Cigarroa had informed UT Austin staff that UT System representatives “wished”

to be present at any interviews with the Committee.409

If Cigarroa had not conveyed this

message, Hall wanted Cigarroa to explain “the rationale for this decision.”410

405

See Exhibit 98.

406

Id.

407

See Exhibit 124.

408

See Exhibits 130, 143 & 172.

409

See Exhibit 143.

410

Id.

125

2.

Hall Refused to Timely Comply with the Committee’s Request for
Documents.

Notwithstanding the nearly contemporaneous updates Hall received about the

Committee’s interaction with the System and its employees, he showed little regard for

the Committee’s requests for information from him. Prior to its first hearing at which

fact witnesses would testify, the Committee sent Hall a request for documents.411

Dated

October 9, 2013, the letter detailed categories of information Hall was directed to

produce to the Committee within ten days.412

Many of the requests were tailored to

obtain information relevant to witnesses the Committee planned to call at its hearing

scheduled for October 22 and 23, 2013.

Neither Hall nor his counsel ever called the Committee or its staff to discuss the

scope of the requests, the time it would take him or others to collect the information, or

the applicable rules governing such requests. Instead, Hall’s counsel sent a letter to the

Committee on October 18, 2013 (the Friday before hearings were to be held), lambasting

the Committee’s investigation and, for the first time since the request issued, informing

the Committee that some responsive documents were under review by the System.413

Hall’s counsel also stated that neither he nor his client would honor the

Committee’s ten-day deadline.414

He cited an erroneous contention that the Committee is

bound by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Texas Rules of Evidence, which allow

411

Letter from Co-Chairs Rep. Alvarado and Rep. Flynn to Wallace Hall (October 9,
2013) at Appendix D (APP 00107).

412

See id.

413

Letter from G. Allan Van Fleet to Co-Chairs Rep. Alvarado and Rep. Flynn
(October 18, 2013) at Appendix D (APP 00119).

414

See id.

126

parties 30 days to respond to document requests.415

Hall’s interpretation was contrary to

House Rule 4, the previous practice of the Legislature, the opinion of the House

Parliamentarian, and the plain language of the civil procedure rules and rules of evidence,

which make no mention of the Legislature. Nonetheless, Hall persisted and did not

produce any documents any sooner than he believed was necessary.

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