It will be interesting to see how the Kansas Bioscience Authority’s board of directors decides to handle the Tom Thornton situation.
Thornton was chief executive officer of the KBA until he abruptly resigned in April 2011. An audit of KBA operations released in January was critical of his leadership and cited problems with several expenditures and personal matters.
Perhaps the most interesting revelation was that, shortly after his resignation, Thornton used computer cleanup and drive-wiping tools to permanently clear the hard drive on his KBA-owned computer. He has refused to say exactly what information was destroyed, but he told auditors it involved “personal financial and tax information, family photos and other information of a personal nature, some of which would be embarrassing if made public.”
This raises the very real question of what Thornton was trying to hide from investigators/auditors and whether it included evidence that would be damaging or even self-incriminating. It seems rather obvious that Thornton destroyed the files to cover up information that would have been harmful. The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office is conducting its own investigation of the KBA.
This being the case, what are KBA directors going to do about it? Are they going to look further into Thornton’s actions or are they going to try to cover up, protect themselves and refuse to pursue the matter? What does this say about the KBA board and the message its actions send to state lawmakers, the governor and the public?
Any efforts to restore public confidence in the KBA and its leadership and downplay the fact that hardball politics have played a significant role in the authority’s activities in recent years will be severely handicapped by a less-than-forthcoming KBA board.
If any laws have been violated, why remain silent and try to defend Thornton?
A major effort now is under way to encourage individuals to consider joining the KBA board of directors, but many individuals are hesitant to accept a nomination because of the less-than-favorable actions and policies by KBA directors and Thornton in recent years.