Developer says he isn’t helping pay Theus and Martin


Las Cruces developer Philip Philippou isn’t giving any money to the New Mexico State University Foundation to help pay basketball Coach Reggie Theus or President Michael Martin.

Philippou contacted me this weekend to make that clear. His comments came in response to an article I ran Friday questioning whether the foundation’s donor list should be public.

The university recently gave Theus and Martin significant raises in compensation that are paid by the private sector. The money is funneled through the foundation, a non-profit that keeps its donor lists secret.

I wrote that in many states, such foundations have been ordered by courts to open their books because they were operating more like state agencies than non-profits.

As an example of a sticky situation that can arise when such donors remain secret, I pointed out that, 10 days after the university announced Theus’ $100,000 raise from the private sector, the coach surprised many by waiting more than four hours during a Las Cruces City Council meeting for the chance to endorse The Vistas at Presidio, a 6,000-acre development proposed by Philippou.

Many questioned whether Philippou was one of the contributors to Theus’ compensation.

Now we know he isn’t.

7 thoughts on “Developer says he isn’t helping pay Theus and Martin

  1. For all of the confused,the issue is disclosure of identity for those private donors who are providing direct dollars of compensation to Public employees.Don’t try to spin the issue as an attempt by paranoids to curtail charitable giving to bricks,mortar, and programs.501 c 4 organizations are treading on an icy slope and endangering their IRS designation when they engage in the practice of supplementing public officials compensation from anonymous sources.

  2. First, I commend Heath for posting this information. Second, I agree 100% will the previous comments. Large donors more often than not don’t want their names published because they are very private individuals or they don’t want too many groups knocking on their door for donations. I totally disagree that if someone donates to Aggie athletics (arena improvements, team travel money, etc.) they are then disqualified to speak up for others in the community or have others speak up for them. Drop the paranoia and get on with life.

  3. I ask every one that thinks “private” donations should be released to dream a little; if you had millions or even a few thousand to GIVE, would you want your name posted so that the world knows, you might but you also might not. Everyone who want’s
    disclosure, are you GIVING large sums? And if you did, would you want your ego to shine in the form of name publication or would you be humble and private with you giving?

  4. This is why we need FULL disclosure of private donators to Foundations who are functionally acting as clandestine conduits of private money to public employees compensation.Without sunshine,the public is left to wonder and speculate.Do the right thing University trustees,set an ethical example by voluntarily establishing and enforcing disclosure with the Foundation where public employees and their benefits and compensation are involved,you’re the policy makers,it appears as though your President has already been co-opted.

  5. I must say I find it hard to believe that Phillipou has no financial connection to the Aggie Basketball program or its coach–he admitted he sponsored a plane ride for several people. And even if Phillipou is not contributing towards his salary, it still LOOKS like Theus was paying him back for something by testifying on his behalf at the City Council vote.

    The problem is just that: the APPEARANCE of impropriety. When we have secretive actions on the part of public figures and highly connected/wealthy individuals in the community, it breeds suspicion. One more reason all this stuff needs to be completely out in the open. If a donor wants to keep his identity private, fine, but they should not be able to direct their money in a way that influences political decisions, or carries a string attached.

    It’s why we tell kindergardeners to tell the truth, even if its not something we are proud of, because hiding a secret might end up getting you into more trouble–why don’t these grownups remember this?

  6. I remember a few months ago you posted a blog asking for donations to keep this site open. You make your living off writing about public employees…Governor Richardson, Coach Theus…and anyone else you think is doing the world wrong. In the essence of fairness, I think you need to post a list of everyone who donated money to this site.. When can we expect to see that list?

  7. Philippou, has always been open and honest, as you have been also, Heath. Thanks for the posting.