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CU in Court

The university's secretive fundraising project manages to raise eyebrows as well.

On September 28, a front-page Daily editorial listed the fifteen questions it would like Buechner to answer. Some of them involved just how close his relationship was with Raudenbush -- right down to a specific trip to Washington, D.C., this past February. Most, however, focused on the nature of Raudenbush's contract with the foundation and the university's failure to acknowledge the connections. "The Daily has done all it can to bring these matters into the light of day," the paper concluded. "It is up to the regents -- and to Colorado's taxpayers -- to take it from here."

But editor Pamela White, who wrote many of the Daily's stories, isn't holding her breath: So far, the regents haven't shown much inclination to get their hands dirty, and the dailies continue to give the story a pass. "At the very least, the regents need to address the issue of the Open Records Act," she says. "Our concern is that they're going to get away with this -- and that CU and the taxpayers will have to pay the price."

If there's one thing CU doesn't want, it's for the legislature to start poking into its affairs. Several regents still resent the rough treatment lawmakers gave former CU president Judith Albino; in contrast, the smooth-talking Buechner has gotten the kid-glove treatment from journalists and legislators alike.

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Previous Westword articles

"The Answer to a Riddle,"
July 8, 1999
The $250-hour man has left the state--for now.

"Riddle Me This,"
July 8, 1999
Sam Riddle is Colorado's man of the hour. The $250 hour.

"Opportunism Knocks,"
April 29, 1999
The Columbine Tragedy turns into a P.R. blitz.

"Let Us Pray,"
November 5, 1998
Riddle helps Vicki Buckley out of a Broncos muddle.

"The Big Bang Theory,"
October 15, 1998
Vicki Buck

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Colorado State Statute 23-5-112 (3) allows the state auditor to audit any public agency -- such as the secretary of state's office -- or quasi-public agency, unless it's a nonprofit that's "entirely separate." Under that statute, the state auditor could audit Buckley's contract with Riddle -- which it did, finding that while it was questionable, it was still legal. But also under that statute, the state auditor could audit Raudenbush's contract with Buechner, since it clearly violated the "entirely separate" language. And while that contract, too, may have been perfectly legal, CU's behavior is completely questionable. What else don't they want the auditor to look at?

Yes, Sam Riddle was right (and I would have told him so if he hadn't hung up on me on deadline morning). Raudenbush's contract was never scrutinized the way his was. And it should have been.

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