University of Texas System regent Wallace Hall Jr. wanted a forensic analysis of the UT Law School Foundation’s computers, and he wanted to fire Vinson & Elkins as outside counsel for UT Austin.
According to a report by the Austin American-Statesman, those revelations came out on Dec. 18 during a hearing before the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, which is investigating Hall to determine whether to impeach him as regent.
Houston lawyer Rusty Hardin, representing the committee, questioned UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa about Hall’s desire for the computer forensic analysis.
The Statesman reported, “Hall sought this summer to get the Board of Regents’ office to seize UT Law School Foundation computers and subject them to forensic analysis. Hall has questioned the relationship between the foundation and the School of Law, including a forgivable loan program benefiting some law professors.”
Committee member Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, questioned UT-Austin President Bill Powers about Hall allegedly expressing interest in firing Vinson & Elkins. Hall opposed counting software donations as fundraising, but V&E partner Harry Reasoner “took the university’s position that software donations should be counted,” said the article.
Previously, the UT System asked for an opinion from the Texas Office of the Attorney General about whether the committee has the legal authority to force UT System lawyers to testify and give up documents, and jail them for contempt if they refuse.