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Internal inquiry quiets conflict of interest concerns

Sept. 18, 2003

By Sandi Villarreal, reporter

Charges of conflicts of interest within the Baylor Board of Regents were put to rest Friday when Dr. Juan Alejandro, the university's director of internal audit and management, reported that the claims were 'completely baseless and unjustified' after examination of the charges.

The internal audit and management office looked into conflict of interest charges made in recent correspondence and newspaper articles.

'It's not a conflict of interest to care about Baylor, have children or friends at Baylor, make charitable donations or to be involved in community activities that touch the university,' Alejandro said in a press release Friday.

Baylor's policy states that a conflict of interest exists when 'a non-faculty employee of Baylor University has an outside personal and/or economic interest, which may potentially oppose the best interests of the university.' Alejandro denied that any of the claims being made were in conflict of this policy.

Allegations in publications such as The Dallas Morning News have been made against many regents including Wes Bailey, president and stockholder in Bailey Insurance and Financial Services. The company has been the university's broker since the 1960s, and Bailey has been serving as an adjunct finance, insurance and real estate professor.

'The university employs an independent consultant every three to four years to evaluate Baylor's total insurance program and the work [Bailey's] firm performs on behalf of the university,' Alejandro said in the press release. 'Regarding the class being taught, he is being paid the same as other similar positions and plans to donate his after-tax income to the endowment.'

Bailey also released a statement Friday addressing the claims.

'I am in compliance with the conflict of interest policy and have in no way violated it,' he said in the statement. 'My organization's serving as Baylor's agent for a portion of the university's insurance, and my teaching in the business school are fully disclosed to the board's audit committee that is charged with responsibility of evaluating any potential conflicts of interest among board members.'

Another target of these claims has been Duane Brooks, a regent and brother of David Brooks, Baylor's vice president for finances and administration. Duane Brooks was appointed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Alejandro said, and there is no violation of the school's conflict of interest policy.

Other targets of allegations include Joe Coleman, whose law firm may represent the university in a future lawsuit; Jim Turner, president and CEO of Dr Pepper/ Seven Up Bottling Group, Inc., whose company has a contract with the university; and Brian Harbour who is a part-time lecturer at George W. Truett Theological Seminary.