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Articles Archive for April 2011

Featured, Government, Investigation, News, Open Government »

[28 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation commingled restricted state and federal grant money with the Foundation’s operational and discretionary funds in a single checking account, two former state officials have told Veritas New Mexico.
“They pooled money in one big pot,” former Department of Cultural Affairs secretary Stuart Ashman said. “They commingled funds and if the timing wasn’t right, they couldn’t come forth with the money [for the Center]. If the Center got a $50,000 grant and deposited it with the Foundation, when they needed that money, they were told …

Featured, Government, Investigation, News, Open Government »

[27 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

Two key documents in the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation’s state fresco misappropriations case are missing.
Neither a contract between the Foundation and the DCA, nor a related 2007 purchase agreement transferring $527,000 in legislative appropriations to the Foundation, could be located at the DCA or state archives, Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) spokesman Doug Svetnicka has confirmed.
Veritas New Mexico has been seeking the documents since December.
The missing purchase agreement was one of two such documents specifying how the Foundation was to spend state money intended for production of muralist …

Breaking news, Featured, Government, Investigation, News, Open Government »

[26 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation President Clara Apodaca must register as a lobbyist and file expenditure reports with the state, and could face fines of up to $5,000 for failing to do so in previous years, according to an April 26 letter to Apodaca from Secretary of State Dianna Duran.
“It has recently come to our attention that you (and) members of your staff may have been engaged in lobbying activities on behalf of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation since 2006 which would have required that you register with this …

By the Numbers, Featured, Peter St. Cyr »

[25 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

Want to know if you’re living in a home or apartment that was once used to manufacture meth or housed dangerous chemicals in Albuquerque? Now you can. Using a Drug Enforcement Agency dataset from 2004 to February 2011, Veritas NM generated this map, using BatchGeo mapping software, to locate where clandestine drug labs or dumpsites have been reported.

View Clandestine Labs Busted in ABQ in a full screen map

Featured, Government, Health, Open Government »

[25 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

While states like Illinois and Florida have publicly debated cost control legislation this year for troubled Medicaid health insurance programs for the poor and disabled, New Mexico has quietly put its own Medicaid restructuring plan out to bid, without public hearings.
“There is no public comment period for the RFP [Request for Proposals],” Human Services Department (HSD) spokeswoman Betina McCracken told Veritas New Mexico when asked if there would be public input about the  planned restructuring. “I do not know beyond this point.”
Acting state Medicaid director Julie Weinberg will …

Featured, Government, News, Peter St. Cyr »

[25 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

© Veritas NM 2011
A few days after New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran notified all 33 county clerks that their biennial voter purge would be canceled this year, Deputy Bernalillo County Clerk Robert Adams made a disturbing discovery — 44,601 county files stored on the state’s voter registration database had been accessed and altered.
Accustomed to spending long hours in front of his computer, Adams says he was shocked to learn informational “flags,” which are attached to voter files after mail is returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable, …

Featured, Government, Labor, Peter St. Cyr, Politics »

[19 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

After waiting for months, unions representing City of Albuquerque employees will have to wait a little longer before they can have their grievances heard by a local labor board.
On Tuesday morning, as expected, the city’s management representative withdrew her support of the attorney she nominated to become the city’s Labor-Management Relations Board chairman.
After praising civil rights attorney George Bach, Barbara Stephenson, an attorney herself, who was picked by Mayor Richard Berry to represent management, said Bach was removed because he has several pending lawsuits against the city and she “thought …

Breaking news, Featured, Government, Investigation, Open Government »

[19 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

State Auditor Hector Balderas will assist the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and its independent auditing firm, Moss Adams, in the “full and independent” audit of state fresco funds ordered by DCA Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales.
The funds were managed by the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, and had been intended for the completion of muralist Frederico Vigil’s 40,000 square-foot fresco depicting New Mexico history, at the Center’s Torreon Building.
“I spoke with (DCA) Secretary (Veronica) Gonzales this morning and we agreed to work together. We’ll be assisting with the audit,” Balderas …

Featured, Government, Investigation, News, Open Government »

[19 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation President Clara R. Apodaca has admitted that state funds intended for the completion of a fresco painting at the Center’s Torreon Building, were used to reimburse the Foundation for operating expenses, backing away from earlier denials.
Veritas New Mexico first reported last week that documents obtained from the state show state fresco money was spent on Foundation salaries and lobbying expenses.
But apparently in response to Veritas’s reporting, Apodaca — who has not responded to our questions — told the Albuquerque Journal Monday the Foundation had …

Featured, Government, Investigation, Open Government »

[18 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation staff and officials listed in a Foundation report as having lobbied lawmakers for state funds, have not been registered as lobbyists as required by law, according to state records.
In a Dec. 3, 2010 expense report to the state, Foundation President Clara R. Apodaca reported $150,000 in staff salary expenses stemming from Foundation lobbying at the legislature between 2006 and 2008, including $72,000 of her own salary — expenses the Foundation subsequently reimbursed itself from state funds intended for the completion of the Torreon Building fresco …