The battle over the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. continues.
On Thursday, the KTEC executive committee issued a news release, saying recent accusations made against KTEC’s chief executive officer Tracy Taylor were “baseless.”
Moments earlier, it was announced that a critic of KTEC — state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City — was appointed to the board that oversees the economic development agency.
KTEC, which was established in 1986 to promote technology-based development, has been fighting for its life.
Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had vetoed KTEC’s $12 million in funding, but lawmakers restored $7 million in the final budget.
Since Sebelius has left to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, her replacement, Gov. Mark Parkinson, has said he may accept a lower-funded KTEC but wants lawmakers to reassess the state’s economic development strategy.
In recent weeks, KTEC’s chief, Taylor, was the subject of articles in the Lawrence Journal-World and other newspapers about his relationship with Urigen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Francisco company that KTEC invested in.
In its annual report filed with federal officials, Urigen said Taylor received $37,500 in compensation for serving as chairman of Urigen’s board. Later, Urigen officials said their report was mistaken and that Taylor didn’t receive any compensation. Urigen has said it will correct its public filings.
On Thursday, Linda Reinhart, chairwoman of KTEC’s executive committee, announced that a month-long internal investigation has cleared Taylor of any questions in the matter.
“Our investigation refutes false and misleading allegations regarding Mr. Taylor’s integrity and affirms the professionalism with which he comported himself to protect KTEC’s interests and those of the people of Kansas,” she said.
Meanwhile, Holland, will become a member of the 16-person board that oversees KTEC.
“Senator Holland has been extremely concerned about the future of KTEC throughout this past legislative session,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, who named Holland to the board.
“As a board member, Senator Holland will be able to use his research and expertise to reassess the effectiveness of KTEC, and to determine the most efficient ways to encourage capital investment, technology transfer and job creation in Kansas,” Hensley said.
During the past legislative session, Holland introduced a bill that would have abolished KTEC and moved its functions to the Kansas Department of Commerce and state universities.
At least two members of KTEC’s board must be legislators who serve on either the Senate Commerce Committee or Joint Committee on Economic Development. Holland serves on both of those committees.