Kudos to Joe Monahan (link here), for separating the wheat from the chaff by exposing how the shadow government behind Susana Martinez’s administrations uses the media to distract the public from a legal scandal of their own making.
Governor Martinez, Jay McCleskey, Pat Rogers, and other members of the shadow government must think New Mexicans are stupid. They actually expect us to fall for their misdirection.
But New Mexicans are not stupid. We know hocus-pocus when we see it. (Monty Newman, KRQE, and the editors of the Albuquerque Journal appear to be exceptions.)
We have heard over and over again from many New Mexicans, especially Republicans, that Martinez’s actions are “just like Richardson, ONLY WORSE”.
Here is what we know so far, and it is only the tip of the iceberg:
-Emails from Pat Rogers to Jay McCleskey and Ryan Cangiolosi, Martinez’s deputy chief of staff, show their claims to the public of an open and transparent bid process (The Downs at Albuquerque) to be flat-out lies.
-The emails show collusion, rigging, and improper access by a bidder and by Martinez administration insiders deciding the process. Cangiolosi’s claim that he didn’t read those emails almost echoes Bill Clinton’s incredulous denials.
-Cangiolosi withheld these emails from public disclosure despite an IPRA request. Each email he intentionally withheld represents a separate fourth degree felony. It’s no wonder he claims he never read them. Many emails = many counts.
-Pat Rogers, lawyer and lobbyist for the Downs at Albuquerque, communicated directly with deputy chief of staff, Cangiolosi, and McCleskey (aka “the shadow governor”) during the contract procurement process, which is strictly prohibited by law. These communications were not harmless and demonstrate direct influence in the process.
-Rogers was also negotiating a sole-source one-year lease extension with the Martinez administration and sought to discuss this with Cangiolosi during the prohibited time period of the bid for the contract. (Two contracts but all the same players).
-The Downs owners used various entities, Brazos Land & Cattle, SunRay Gaming, as well as individually to give A LOT of money to Susana Martinez and Susana PAC (run by McCleskey), during time periods when Gov. Martinez was clearly in position to award the contract. The timing of the contributions, both during the lease extension negotiations and the contract bid process, leave little doubt about the intent to influence the contracting process.
-Rogers identified “Hossie” Sanchez as the state fair commissioner he wanted to help rig the process. Sanchez then tried to push the deal through, only to be called out by good government Republican commissioner Charlotte Rode. Rode also notified the media of this attempt to manipulate the outcome. (Rogers was not listed on Rode’s email that included the media, but someone from the Martinez administration must have alerted Rogers to what Rode had done).
-Rogers demanded an emergency conference with Cangiolosi and McCleskey, once his designated commissioner’s actions were reported by Rode as improper to the media. Emails show that Rode was then targeted for opposing the contract award.
-Emails show efforts to retaliate against Rode, and indignation when another good government Republican, Tom Tinnin, spoke out against the contract.
-McCleskey, Rogers, and Rep. Nate Gentry (R) targeted state fair commissioner Charlotte Rode, with the Martinez administration’s approval, accusing her of violating the law. Gentry launched an investigation and media campaign against Rode.
-Rogers provided the Martinez administration with legal advice on how to handle Rode as well as on whether to allow a commissioner opposed to the contract to vote over the telephone. Rogers advised “no”.
-Rogers demanded that Cangiolosi have a different commissioner (after “Hossie” Sanchez failed in his efforts) to “lock down” another commissioner to approve the contract as the date for the scheduled vote approached.
-Jay McCleskey was working the media to help the Downs. He is in the PR business and owns McCleskey Media. He had been doing work for Downs at Albuquerque vice-president Traci Wolfe on behalf of her Defined Fitness chain. (Wolfe needs to disclose all payments from Defined Fitness to McCleskey,).
-Rogers was in communication with McCleskey about his media efforts. Rogers then described those efforts to Cangiolosi.
-Tom Tinnin selected highly qualified evaluators to assess the submitted bids. Gov. Martinez replaced those evaluators with her own handpicked team.
-The lead evaluator she selected, “Chuck” Gara, paid Jay McCleskey over $25,000 to run a political action committee. Gara’s credentials include being voted off a City of Albuquerque task force for trying to rig their decisions to benefit contributors to his political action committee.
-Gara gave the Downs an unearned perfect score for “managerial expertise”. An honest and accurate assessment of the Downs “managerial expertise” would have meant handing the contract to the other bidder.
-The state fair commission was told to give a thumbs up or down vote on the contract. When it became clear the vote was going to be thumbs down, the Martinez administration stopped the vote.
-State fair commissioner “Buster” Goff, was given the opportunity to alter the terms of the contract so that he would change his vote from “no” to “yes”. He did. His daughter-in-law, Andrea, was the lead fundraiser for Susana PAC until very recently.
-Gov. Martinez denied State Fair commission members access to the documents they needed to review in order to make a fair assessment of the bids.
-State Fair manager, Dan Mourning, blocked the State Fair commission from participating in the review and appeal process. He claimed the decision was his alone, which interfered with the commission’s authority and kept that part of the process out of the public eye.
-Gov. Martinez personally approved the bidding process while diverting the media to a witness subpoena in an unrelated federal investigation of her predecessor.
The facts here point to serious violations of the law by Governor Susana Martinez’s administration and shadow government.
Remember that Facts are Stubborn Things the next time the Martinez administration or anyone tries to change the subject by claiming emails were illegally obtained, or that legislators and Richardson hide emails too.
To date, the governor, her administration, and her shadow government have not addressed the facts. A reasonable guess is that is their silence is based upon legal advice relative to the 5th Amendment.