Archive for Friday, March 2, 2012

KBA credibility

The Kansas Bioscience Authority shouldn’t be too quick to close the book on its former CEO.

March 2, 2012


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.


jayhawklawrence 6 years, 3 months ago

I spent a lot of time on the road for extended periods where I needed to have both a phone and laptop. I used both for persona and business reasons and it was allowed. Naturally, when I upgraded to a new laptop, I cleaned the hard drive. I would be stupid not to.

If there was a policy strictly forbidding the use of the phone or laptop for personal use, I would have had to carry two phones and two laptops while traveling.

In the case of the KBA where a political party is willing to spend $1 million to dig up any kind of dirt on you, I would definitely be cleaning my hard drive knowing that in today's world they will do anything to tear you down and slander you.

So where is the dirt?

If you cannot find it, you imply that it was there but we couldn't find it. Like WMD's in IRAQ?

Bradley Kemp 6 years, 3 months ago

Look, the KBA board spent a million dollars on a forensic audit to chase down every allegation and accusation made by a host of critics. The audit was overseen and managed by the governor's adminstration. And the board made the audit reports public. Doesn't seem like a coverup.

And what did the auditors find? A handful of inadvertent and inappropriate payments, all of which were promptly reimbursed to the authority when they were discovered. Doesn't seem as if there is anything to cover up.

quetzal 6 years, 3 months ago

The entire investigation into the KBA and Thornton was nothing but a $1million witch hunt. From the very beginning the Gov. and Sen. Wagle accused Thornton of a host of baseless attacks that the audit revealed untrue. During committee hearings it was Sen. Wagle's every intention to embarrass and discredit Thornton because the KBA did not fund CIBOR (her pet project) to the level she wanted. Sen. Wagle made all efforts to even call old friends of Thornton's in Chicago to see what dirt she could find. Who would blame the guy for wiping his computer after going through all of that. This was a game of dirty politics by our administration to get the CEO out of their way so they cold take control over the KBA.

Funny how after the preliminary audit came out in September the Gov. immediately called for more digging because it didn't find enough. (not to mention more $$$ for more digging). In the end $4000 of expenses that Thornton paid back to the KBA. Worth $1 million?? I think the question of credibility here is not on the KBA, but on the Governor and legislators.

Oh, and this one-sided article is not the best example of credibility and public confidence, if that's the topic of the day.

WilburM 6 years, 3 months ago

This is a Dolph special. 1. Axe to grind. 2. No data. 3Ignoring reality. 4. Return to #1.

what organization could come through a $1M audit? The Legislature? The Governor's office? The LJW? Give me a break.

And then, let the KBA do its job.

nanimwe 6 years, 3 months ago

It seems to me that the Tom Thornton situation is already handled. No question the guy was a weasel, but he's gone now and the audit's finished, so what is it that Dolph wants? Also, it is my understanding that the KBA Board is filled and includes the presidents/chancellors of the various regents institutions. It appears Dolph is trying to stir up trouble where there is none (no longer). So perhaps it is just an axe to grind...

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