Conflict of Interest Watch: Patricia Matthews Refers A Charter School to Her Law Partner Susan Fox.
Independent Source Pac has received documentation that lays to rest any claims by the Martinez Administration that there is no conflict of interest or abuse of the public trust involving charter school lawyer/lobbyist Patty Matthews hire as an exempt employee to regulate her own clients.
Matthews together with Sue Fox operated Matthews Fox, P.C. Read the PRC Corporation website summary of their company info.
On June 30, 2011, Matthews Fox, P.C. filed a Profit Corporation Articles of Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation with the New Mexico PRC Corporation Bureau containing the following information:
Article One: The name of the corporation is (include NMPRC#):
“Matthews Fox, P.C. NMPRC #2230308″
Article Two: The following articles are amended as set forth here: (identify by article number and attach additional pages if necessary):
“Article 1: The name of this corporation is Charter Law Office, P.C. The duration of the corporation shall be perpetual.”
According to the document, this amendment to the original articles of in corporation was adopted by a resolution of the board of directors on June 29, 2011.
What is critical is that the only amendment is a name change of the firm. There is no withdrawal of Patricia Matthews as an officer. There is no dissolution of the firm either. Therefore, Matthews is an officer of Charter Law Firm, P.C. The Charter Law Firm, P.C. still represents charter schools and those same clients are directly regulated by Matthews!
Matthews and Fox are both attorneys. They know how to dissolve a corporation and form a new corporation. They did not do that. Instead they simply changed the name of the company. All existing contracts valid under Matthews Fox became valid under Charter Law Firm.
But there is more!
Independent Source Pac has located an email on Patty Matthews state email account in which Matthews recommends that a charter school hire “Sue Fox, my former law partner (473-3020) on your special ed question.”
First, a state employee is not supposed to refer a member of the public to a specific vendor. (Matthews Fox did have state contracts), but more importantly, Matthews is referring this charter school to her own firm since Matthews and Sue Fox are still partners in Charter Law Firm.
Finally, according to the Public Education Department, there are no documents in which Matthews disclosed this relationship, or any outstanding charter school contracts, legal fees, receivables from any charter school clients. No disclosure despite the fact that Martinez’s new code of ethics required just such disclosures.
Matthews must go. This is an absolute violation of the public trust.