/ Modified jun 20, 2017 3:05 p.m.

Greg Patterson Quits as Regents Chair Following Release of Recording

He recorded himself ridiculing Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem's 'costume.'

ABOR Greg Patterson hero Arizona Board of Regents chair Greg Patterson resigned Monday, June 19, 2017. (PHOTO: Arizona Board of Regents)

Arizona Board of Regents chair Greg Patterson resigned Monday, just days after a Phoenix newspaper obtained a recording of him ridiculing a state lawmaker.

Patterson was part of a February meeting between education officials and state lawmakers over a bill that would have cut back the power of the state Board of Regents. Conservative lawmakers were concerned, in part, over growing administrative costs in the university system.

The discussion grew heated, and unknown to the others, Greg Patterson was wearing a voice recorder, which captured him mocking Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, for his thick, cowboy mustache and Western-style suit.

“Are you from SaddleBrooke?" Patterson asked. "I would start with, by saying the costume doesn't work. Trim that [mustache] down, buy a suit, decide where you want to be, but this isn't it.” Patterson then stormed out of the meeting.

His comments didn’t come to light until last Friday, when the Arizona Republic obtained the audio through a public records request and published it online. Later that day, regents vice chair Bill Ridenour issued a statement distancing himself and the board from Patterson.

Patterson submitted his letter of resignation Monday, saying he “didn't want to become a distraction” to the state Board of Regents.

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