Indicted Alaska regent missed 44 percent of board meetings

Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2007

FAIRBANKS - An indicted University of Alaska regent who has refused to resign missed 44 percent of meetings last year and both full board meetings this year.

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According to meeting minutes, Jim Hayes missed four meetings last year, when federal authorities were investigating him. Hayes was indicted in January on federal fraud and money laundering charges.

"My attendance has been pretty good, and all my absences have been called in," Hayes told the Sun Star, the campus newspaper at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "I think I only missed one meeting last year."

However, university spokeswoman Kate Ripley said Hayes missed four out of nine full board meetings. Since being indicted, Hayes has missed both 2007 regent meetings.

In all, he's missed more than 30 votes during that time.

Jim Hayes and his wife, Chris, were indicted on federal fraud and money laundering charges.

They are accused of misusing $450,000 in federal money meant for LOVE Social Services, a youth center directed by Chris Hayes. Jim Hayes, a former Fairbanks mayor, serves on the center's board of directors.

A grand jury returned an indictment against the couple in January, charging Chris Hayes with 92 counts and Jim Hayes with 23 counts. Both pleaded not guilty earlier this month, and trial has been set for April 9.

According to a review of minutes by the Sun Star, Hayes had the poorest record of attendance in 2006, with four missed meetings. Regents Carl Marrs and Robert Martin each missed two meetings and were late to a third. Regents Frances Rose, Jacob Gondek and Joseph Usibelli missed two.

"(Hayes) was absent for the Aug. 8 audio briefing," Ripley said. "It's a summer audio meeting they have. He wasn't there for that, he wasn't at the Kodiak meeting in June 2006. And he was not at the April 2006 meeting in Nome and Kotzebue, but a number of them weren't at that meeting."

Hayes also missed a Jan. 20-21, 2006 board retreat in Anchorage, according to meeting minutes. The FBI raided his house 10 days earlier.

In 2007, Hayes has missed both meetings, another January retreat in Anchorage and the February full board meeting in Juneau. Hayes attributed missing the February meeting to his wife's health.

"I'd rather be there, but with my wife's illness and doctor's appointments, I'm not always able to make it," Hayes said.

Gov. Sarah Palin has asked Hayes to resign. He has indicated he plans to serve until 2011 when his term expires.

The state Legislature can remove a regent by an impeachment vote with a two-thirds majority in both Houses.

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