UTIMCO Secrecy

Since its inception in 1995, UTIMCO has operated in secret and attempted to shield itself from public visibility and accountability. With the former chairman Tom Ricks at the front line, UTIMCO argued that secrecy was important in making sound business decisions, and public knowledge would threaten the board's ability to strategize. UT Regent and UTIMCO board member Woody Hunt commented "We are appropriately open. There are some proceedings that shouldn't be open because it might hurt our investment strategy. However, all decisions we make are open to the public." (Univ. Wire, March 30, 2001)

In 1999, Don Evans, then the chairman of the Board of Regents, urged UTIMCO to obey open meeting laws of Texas. Despite his pleas, the board continued to hold meetings in private.

In the spring of 2001, State Representative Ron Wilson from Houston amended his education bill to declare UTIMCO as a public institution, requiring it to comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA). This move was prompted by a growing skepticism on the part of legislators and the public regarding the decision process of UTIMCO's investments and the relationship between those decisions and the substantial financial loss the company had taken in recent months.

In October of 2001, UTIMCO passed its own resolution agreeing to comply with TOMA. Further rules applied requiring that the names and the value of assets invested must be made public as per the Texas Open Records Act.

Despite these attempts at opening up the company to public accountability, UTIMCO has continued to be scrutinized for not publishing its meeting times and locations and using such methods as teleconferencing or obscure locales such as the Ballpark at Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, or the offices of Hicks, Muse, Tate, & Furst, the firm owned by Tom Hicks, to hold those meetings.