AG calls for APS board member to resign over La Promesa controversy
KOB.com Web Staff
September 25, 2017 10:22 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Attorney General Hector Balderas has called for the immediate resignation of APS board member Analee Maestas over concerns of funds mismanagement at the La Promesa Early Learning Center.
Maestas faces several accusations regarding her time as executive director of La Promesa, including misusing vendor money for her own benefit and failing to see that hundreds of thousands of dollars for her school was being redirected to her daughter's bank account.
State Auditor Tim Keller believes that during Maestas’ tenure as the charter school's executive director of La Promesa Charter School, $700,000 was funneled to school’s former business manager Julieanne Maestas, Analee Maestas’ daughter.
In a letter to Maestas dated Monday, Balderas stated, "In the wake of two years worth of highly concerning allegations regarding misuse of public funds and gross fiscal mismanagement at La Promesa Early Learning Center while you were Executive Director there, it is clear that you are no longer qualified to hold your position as a board member."
Balderas stated that while the investigations are ongoing, "the New Mexico Constitution does not require that you be found guilty of any conduct related to them to be declared unfit to hold your office, and your oath to uphold the very same Constitution now demands your resignation. If you do not immediately resign, as required by that oath, my office will take all appropriate legal actions."
Through her attorney, Maestas released a statement last week saying that she was not involved in any illegal activity her daughter was involved in. Then on Monday, Maestas' attorney Marc Lowry responded to the attorney general letter and maintained his client's innocence. He said the auditor's report found Maestas was not involved in the embezzlement and she did not violate her oath of office.
"The Attorney General’s letter is more concerned with capturing a headline than it is with the pursuit of the truth," Lowry said.
To read Lowry's statement in full, click here.
Balderas advised District Attorney Raul Torrez and Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden that he sent the letter. APD Public Information Officer Tanner Tixier said Monday the department's White Collar Crimes Unit is continuing to investigate La Promesa. Once that investigation is complete, he said APD will pass the case to the district attorney's office.
"As previously stated, we would hope to finalize this case within a month," Tixier said. "But as with all investigations, timelines are not always obtainable. New evidence is located, additional witnesses may need to be interviewed, etc."
The attorney general's letter is the latest call for Maestas to step down from the APS board. During a press conference last week, a group called the New Mexico Education Improvement Project said if Maestas does not resign, it will work to recall her.
KOB.com Web Staff
Updated: September 25, 2017 10:22 PM
Created: September 25, 2017 02:09 PM
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