News Column

NMMI, Alumni Association in Legal Brawl

June 21, 2013

New Mexico Military Institute is suing its former alumni association, asking the 5th Judicial Court to freeze the association's accounts, transfer about $5.2 million in assets to the NMMI Foundation, provide an accounting of the funds it has collected and order the association to stop using NMMI's name or logos.

The suit follows an acrimonious split between NMMI and the nonprofit NMMI Alumni Association, which for nearly 50 years provided funds for cadet scholarships and promoted ties between the military school's more than 14,000 alumni.

In late February, the NMMI board of regents warned the alumni association that if it did not improve accounting practices and provide audited financial statements, the school would break with the group, which it did the following month.

NMMI then formed its own Office of Alumni Relations, and hired James D. Lowe, whose previous job was executive director of the alumni association, as its director.

Last week, alumni association President John Phinizy issued a statement claiming NMMI Superintendent Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle was seeking "complete control" over the association's assets and that the association would defend itself "against this expensive and baseless lawsuit."

In the suit, filed June 10, NMMI says the alumni association has repeatedly "failed to generate or provide the most basic monthly accounting statements showing the status of its financial affairs," and "is no longer able to carry out its purpose" or "manage its corporate affairs in accordance with the corporation's governing documents."

In a June 12 letter to NMMI alumni, Phinizy says the alumni association's assets "remain safe and secure under proper management and oversight."

In a letter mailed to alumni on June 7, 17 former NMMI Alumni Association presidents said they fully support the regent's decision to sever ties with the alumni association, and the establishment of the Office of Alumni Relations as the primary means to foster alumni support for NMMI.

NMMI, established in Roswell in 1891, is a statesupported co-ed high school and junior college that focuses on leadership, academics and character development in a military setting. The institute's typical enrollment is about 1,000 students.


(c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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Source: Copyright Albuquerque Journal (NM) 2013

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