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[15 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Hispanic Cultural Foundation told to return additional $147,000 of state fresco funds (UPDATED)

State officials demanded Monday that the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) Foundation return another $147,000 of $812,500 in state funds that had been intended for completion of a fresco of New Mexico history.

The Foundation had already surrendered more than $138,000 in March.

Auditors did not ask to see Foundation bank statements for the account into which state funds were deposited, State Auditor’s Office Chief of Staff Evan Blackstone said Monday evening.

Breaking news, Corruption, Featured, Government, News, Peter St. Cyr »

[11 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
County employee accused of embezzlement

A Bernalillo County Clerk employee is being accused of stealing nearly $23,000 from taxpayers.

Clifford Valencia was arrested on Thursday afternoon and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on embezzlement charges.

Breaking news, Corruption, Featured, News »

[4 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Block’s gas card use investigated

Questionable charges on Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block’s state issued gas card have prompted a new multi-agency investigation into the embattled officials actions.

Block denies the charges that he used the card to fill up other personal vehicles in exchange for cash.

State Auditor Hector Balederas told Veritas tonight that he’s making the investigation a top priority.

These allegations come just days after other criminal charges were reinstated by the state Court of Appeals.

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

[2 Aug 2011 | No Comment | ]
Criminal charges reinstated against PRC Commissioner Block and his father

The New Mexico Court of Appeals reinstated criminal charges Tuesday against Public Regulation Commission (PRC) vice chair Jerome Block Jr. and his father and former PRC commissioner, Jerome Block, Sr.

The pair face charges ranging from embezzlement and election code violations to evidence tampering, stemming from Block Jr.’s misuse of public campaign funds during his 2008 bid for a seat on the powerful commission.

Breaking news, Featured, Government, Headline, Open Government »

[1 Jul 2011 | No Comment | ]
State will release EPA air radiation monitoring data from Las Conchas fire

According to the New Mexico Environment Department, the state will post online all radiation monitoring data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air pollution-measuring equipment now deployed around the 103,800-acre Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos.
But it may require more than a week to do so, because of the time required to accurately analyze air filter samples, Department spokesman Jim Winchester and others said Friday.
“The scientific analysis of the filter requires several days to get the most accurate count of atmospheric elements,” Winchester said. “The air sample monitoring data will be on …

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 …

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 …

Breaking news, Bryant Furlow, Government, Health, News, Peter St. Cyr »

[2 Apr 2011 | No Comment | ]

Six New Mexico non-profit marijuana growers have filed a class-action lawsuit in Santa Fe district court, alleging the state Health Department’s process for issuing medical marijuana licenses is an arbitrary haze that violates their 14th Amendment equal-protection rights.
The state has failed to establish standards and procedures for evaluating growers’ applications, according to the group’s lawsuit, filed in Santa Fe district court Friday.
That lack of publicly available standards and criteria renders the licensing process unconstitutionally arbitrary, the groups contend.
The growers’ groups have invested thousands of dollars in medical marijuana applications, establishing nonprofit …