The stage is now set for hearings against a University of Texas Regent.
Wallace Hall Jr. will have to answer allegations that he breached his statutory obligations as a University of Texas Systems board member.
Attorney Allan Van Fleet scolded the State's Special Counsel Rusty Hardin for barring cross-examination during the impeachment hearings for Hall. The decision was discussed during a two-hour executive session outside the public eye.
“This is not a performance review,” Van Fleet said. “This is an impeachment.”
Hall is under fire on several changes that could result in his removal from the board.
"I heard 10 minutes of platitude about transparency and two hours of meetings in secret to come out and say, 'You don't have the fundamental right to cross examine,'" Van Fleet said.
Specifically, Hall faces three allegations brought forward by the Texas legislature. It's now up to the state's select committee on Transparency in State Operations to answer the following questions:
• Did the Dallas businessman fail to disclose important business ties on his UT Regent application?
• In the middle of the massive information requests Hall made to UT Austin, did the Systems official improperly disclose sensitive student information?
• Did Hall exceed his authority as a UT Regent?
"This is not a grand jury,” Van Fleet said. “It is a committee of the legislature of Texas which is looking to remove from office someone who is looking to do his job by trying to bring transparency to the University of Texas Systems."
Van Fleet accuses the transparency committee of embracing secrecy. He worries that committee witnesses could be interviewed behind closed doors.
"Their proceedings ought to be as transparent as Wallace Hall tried to make the University of Texas," he said.
Special Counsel Attorney Hardin said the process will be objective -- a point he made clear to the committee, Hall's attorneys, university officials and the public.
"Everybody intends for this thing to be fair, very thorough, and to use the new buzzword of the day, 'transparent,'" Hardin said.
Hall denies all of the allegations. Those following the saga will soon hear from the Regent as he begins his battle against the state of Texas for what his attorneys say is paying attention to details.
The first two days of hearings are scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23. Four other days also are planned in November and December.