State Fair Contract to Undergo AG, State Auditor Scrutiny
With almost no discussion, legislation was passed by the senate
Tuesday requesting an investigation into lease agreements at the New
Mexico State Fair.
Sen. Cisco McSorley sponsored Senate Joint Memorial 28, which asks
“the New Mexico Attorney General and the state auditor to study past
and present leases at the New Mexico State Fair.”
McSorley said he was motivated to introduce the bill by the loss of
$17 million over the last five years at the state fair due to leases
McSorley did not mention the controversial contract with the Downs,
signed late last year, which could be worth more than $1 billion to
Louisianna-based Downs owners William C. Windham and John Turner over
the next 25 years.
Windham and Turner have donated thousands of dollars to Gov. Susana
Martinez, and critics from both sides of the aisle have said the
governor manipulated the contract awarding process so Windham and
Turner came out winners.
McSorley has been a vocal and adamant critic of the Downs lease.
Sen. Michael Sanchez said after the vote he was surprised there wasn’t
any debate. He asked Sen. Tim Jennings, also a critic of the deal, why
he wasn’t taking half an hour to give his opinion of the contract.
Jennings said he “kept quiet to make peace” with the governor’s
office, but that he still didn’t understand why no one at the state
fair could tell him who wrote the contract.