Spaceport America’s former CFO Zach De Gregorio has filed a complaint alleging racketeering, securities fraud, and whistleblower persecution by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other officials related to his termination from his job at the state-run facility. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports: In a 250-page complaint filed in the state’s first judicial district in Santa Fe, Zach De Gregorio alleges he was effectively terminated after he filed a whistleblower […]
Posted by Douglas Messier on Monday, December 21, 2020 On Monday, I joined Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing for an episode of the Tipping Point New Mexico podcast. We talked about the latest developments involving Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America. Topics include: aborted SpaceShipTwo flight test of Dec. 12 reasons for 22-month delay in powered flights new Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier’s extravagant vision for the space tourism company why […]
Fresh off a stinging report saying that it failed to properly oversee a state-owned facility rife with fraud, waste and abuse, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) Board of Directors approved spending up to $20 million on capital improvements to Spaceport America.
Outside investigation concluded former Executive Director Dan Hicks ignored spending regulations, submitted falsified travel documents, and wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary travel and unrealistic projects
Hicks portrayed by staff as an incompetent manager who bullied employees
Ex-CFO Zach DeGregorio facilitated Hicks’ violations by improperly approving travel and ignoring rules and statutes
Former New Mexico Spaceport Authority Board Chairman Rick Holdridge accused of allowing violations to continue
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
A highly critical investigation of Spaceport America has determined the New Mexico state government should consider formal criminal and/or administrative charges against former Executive Director Dan Hicks and former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Zach DeGregorio for their mishandling of the spaceport’s finances.
“As detailed above, there is evidence to conclude that Dan Hicks violated criminal and administrative statutes, as well as the State of New Mexico Governmental Compliance Act, and Governor Lujan Grisham’s Code of Conduct, during his tenure as Director of the Spaceport,” the report said.
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) has terminated Spaceport America Executive Director and CEO Dan Hicks four months after he was placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement and abuse of authority.
The Las Cruces Sun-Newsreports the board voted 5-1 to remove Hicks after discussing his status in closed session for about an hour. Board members did not comment on the reason for the dismissal.
Hicks, who was hired in 2016, was placed on leave in June after former CFO Zach De Gregorio submitted a complaint that alleged the spaceport CEO had created a toxic work environment and removed adequate internal controls on the expenditure of funds.
Some of the allegations against suspended Spaceport America CEO Dan Hicks are of a criminal nature, a New Mexico official has revealed. The Sante Fe New Mexican reports: A wide range of allegations against Hicks are being looked into, including possible violations of the state procurement code, potential financial mismanagement such as improper spending, alleged disbursement of gross receipts tax revenue for unauthorized purposes and possible conflict of interest, Economic […]
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that State Auditor Brian Colón is investigating the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA), and the state Economic Development Department has hired an outside accounting firm to perform an independent forensic audit of the organization that runs Spaceport America. The investigations followed claims by NMSA’s former chief financial officer that CEO Dan Hicks had pressured him to ignore accounting procedures. Hicks is currently on administrative […]
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority appointed business development director Scott McLaughlin as interim CEO of Spaceport America as an investigation continues into suspended CEO Dan Hicks. The Las Cruces Sun News reports: McLaughlin, an Albuquerque native and New Mexico State University alumnus who began working for the spaceport in 2019, introduced himself at a meeting of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority’s board of directors Friday morning. The meeting was conducted […]
The Las Cruces Sun News reports that Spaceport America CEO Dan Hicks, who has led the organization since 2016, has been placed on administrative leave. New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keyes, who chairs the New Mexico Spaceport Authority’s board of directors, confirmed Thursday that Hicks was on leave pending an investigation, but did not provide further details. Hicks did not immediately respond to a query from the Sun-News. He succeeded Christine […]