Spaceport board removes former CEO

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The state authority that oversees Spaceport America in Southern New Mexico voted 6-1 Friday to remove a former CEO who had been placed on administrative leave after an investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing.Spaceport Authority board members voted after about an hour of closed-door talks to remove Dan Hicks from the Spaceport Authority and retain Scott McLaughlin — who previously led the authority’s business development efforts — as interim director as they continue searching for a long-term replacement.The sole vote against removing Hicks came from Laura Conniff, a real estate broker and an owner of Leveldale Farms and Conniff Cattle Co. in Las Cruces who did not disclose her reason.Other board members also did not explain their vote or release any further details on the alleged wrongdoing that led to Hicks’ administrative leave.“We will move forward with Scott as our acting director of Spaceport for the time being and then look into opening up the search for a new executive director of the spaceport,” board Chairwoman Alicia Keyes, the state’s Cabinet secretary of economic development, said during the meeting. “The investigative report has gone to the state auditor, so in terms of releasing, that is really up to the …

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