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Recordings: Gov. Martinez tells police to call off response to hotel noise complaint

Updated: 12/18/2015 10:10 PM | Created: 12/18/2015 11:29 AM
Elizabeth Reed and Blair Miller, KOB.com; Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Gov. Susana Martinez reportedly called Santa Fe dispatchers after a noise complaint was made against her room at a Santa Fe hotel during her office's holiday party Sunday and told police they weren't needed, according to dispatch recordings obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The New Mexican reports that officers were dispatched to the Eldorado Hotel & Spa on reports of loud noises coming from a room around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

In the initial call to police, a hotel staff member says there are guests partying in a room that have been told multiple times to keep quiet. The staff member also says they were throwing bottles off the balcony.

Read the full log of all the dispatch calls by clicking here. Listen to the calls in the video player embedded below. If you're on a mobile device, listen by clicking here.

The staff member asks for police assistance to escort the guests off the property.

In a second recording, a woman who identifies herself as the governor asks a dispatcher why police are responding to the hotel room.

Dispatcher: Because we were called out there.
Martinez: For what purpose?
Dispatcher: Reference: loud noise.
Martinez: Loud noise? We're in a room eating pizza.
Dispatcher: I'm sorry ma'am, someone called us out there and we have to go.
Martinez: Someone? Who is someone?
Dispatcher: I can't give you that information ma'am.
Martinez: Why can you not? It's public record, give it to me.
Dispatcher: Give me one second, ma'am.

The dispatcher says he will transfer her to a supervisor.

The recording continues and Martinez can be heard asking someone, possibly a hotel staff member, if another resident had made a complaint. When the person would not tell her, she can be heard saying, "Oh, you can tell the police but you won't tell me? I'll get it from the cops."

When she's transferred to another dispatcher, Martinez asks who filed the complaint.

Dispatcher: The front desk.
Martinez: Oh, the front desk did. Now tell me where the front desk got that information from.
Dispatcher: I don't have that information you have to talk to--
Martinez: So you just sent police over to shut down a room?
Dispatcher: To go to speak to individuals about a party.
Martinez: Ok, so we're sitting there, I'm the governor of the state of New Mexico, and we're in there with my sister who is disabled along with about six other people who are having pizza.

After talking with the dispatcher, Martinez can be heard on the recording talking to an officer in the room. She says, "whoever's throwing bottles hasn't been there for six hours."

The officer's response cannot be distinguished in the recording. Martinez then responds, "Thank you very much, we appreciate it, there's no necessity for your officers to be here. Call them off. Goodbye."

GOV. MARTINEZ: 'I OWN IT.'

Gov. Martinez told KOB in a Friday afternoon interview she had "one and a half cocktails" over the span of "four or five hours" that night and said she had been downstairs dancing and cleaning before going up to the room to eat pizza, which is when she got involved with the police.

She apologized "to all New Mexicans" for her behavior and said she should have never gotten involved.

"I apologize to the people of New Mexico for having done that," she told KOB. "I should have never talked to central dispatch the way I did. Um, and I own it. It's my responsibility and I apologize to the people of New Mexico for the way I handled it."

The governor said she was "unaware" of the supposed problems that occurred in the hotel room before she went upstairs.

Gov. Martinez said she spent the majority of the evening at the party itself with her staff, cabinet secretaries and their respective families.

She said she simply wanted to know the origin of the complaint because nothing raucous was happening while she was in the hotel room.

"I didn't understand it, and so I thought, 'well, I'll go find out to see what is the issue and how do I resolve it,'" she told KOB.

KOB asked her if it was an abuse of her power.

"No, absolutely not," she replied. "I just wanted to know what was the situation, how can we resolve it – explain to the receptionist that it was very quiet when we were up there and we were simply going to eat pizza and leave."

She called the incident a lesson learned for her and her staff.

"We represent the government and we have to be on our best behavior at all times," she said. "We cannot impose, you know, our fun on anybody else, and it's not proper when you're disrupting other folks. It's unacceptable."

GOVERNOR'S SPOKESMAN GIVES ACCOUNT

Chris Sanchez, the governor's spokesman, issued this statement about the incident Friday afternoon:

"On Saturday evening, the Governor held her annual staff holiday party in a hotel ballroom. There was a live band, food, dancing, and more than 200 guests.

The Governor spent most of the time dancing with her husband, Chuck, and the many children who attended with their parents. Once the band wrapped up for the night and the Governor and staff helped clean up the ballroom, she and Chuck went to a staff member’s private room to eat pizza along with several other guests. 

Unbeknownst to the Governor, there had been complaints about noise and someone throwing what turned out to be snowballs from the balcony of that room earlier in the night while the governor was in the ballroom.

While the Governor was in the hotel room, she was informed a complaint had been recently made, and was also made aware of the earlier complaints. At that time, the other guests left and the Governor went downstairs to the front desk to find out more information about the complaints and assure the hotel staff that those who had caused those issues had long ago left, and there was no longer a problem.

While she was downstairs, she took a call from the Santa Fe Police to inquire about and respond to the complaints. The State Police detail was present with the Governor and believed the situation was under control.

The Governor and her family left and went home shortly thereafter. Governor Martinez regrets the way this situation was handled by her and her staff and will further address that later today."

However, City of Santa Fe spokesman Matt Ross contradicted part of Sanchez's story in a statement to KOB Friday afternoon:

"In the interest of accuracy in the record, we are correcting an error in the statement from the Governor's spokesman. At no point in the evening did the Santa Fe Police call Governor Martinez for any reason."

DEMOCRATS LAMBASTE GOVERNOR'S ACTIONS

Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director Joe Kabourek also issued a statement Friday afternoon:

"The way she behaved was unacceptable," Kabourek said. "She used her status as governor to try to intimidate an officer doing his job to ensure public safety, and she sought to bully the concerned citizen who made the complaint."

"We look forward to the nation’s Republican governors and candidates campaigning with an RGA Chair who attempted to use her power to intimidate local police," said Democratic Governors Association Communications Director Jared Leopold in a statement to KOB.

Gov. Martinez spoke with KOB Friday afternoon.

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