House majority leader under investigation for racketeering, money laundering
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Law enforcement agents have executed search warrants at the home and business of state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton.
According to a filed warrant, she is under investigation for racketeering, money laundering and receiving illegal kickbacks.
In April, newly-appointed Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder submitted a letter to the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas referencing "Suspected Violations of Governmental Conduct Act and Procurement Code."
Investigators are looking into Rep. Williams Stapleton’s connections to Robotics Management Learning Systems LCC, a D.C. company that has done business with APS since 2006.
According to the warrant, every invoice issued by Robotics to APS was for an even dollar amount, no cents, and in unchanging amounts over the years. Most were reportedly for $40,000. In all, APS paid Robotics more than $5.3 million.
Rep. Williams Stapleton is also directly involved with four companies that received payments from Robotics: The Charlie Morrisey Center for Creative Assitance Inc., the Ujima Foundation, S. Williams and Associates, and local restaurant A Taste of The Caribbean.
Evidence suggests that she was eventual recipient of 60% of the APS money — $954,386. Investigators are looking into additional payments that were redirected into her personal bank accounts.
Rep. Williams Stapleton, a Democrat from Albuquerque, represents District 19 and was elected as Majority Floor Leader in 2017. She has served as a representative since 1995.
Rep. Williams Stapleton is also an employee of the school district – she is coordinator and director of Career and Technical Education at APS.
To read the superintendent’s initial letter to the state attorney general, click here.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement following the allegations:
“I am deeply, deeply troubled by the reports this morning about a law enforcement investigation into Rep. Stapleton. People are innocent until proven otherwise, and I know investigators will follow the facts wherever they lead. I await more information like all New Mexicans. But I will say that public confidence in government is seriously damaged by even the appearance of impropriety, or illegal activity, which is why public officials must always hold themselves to the highest possible standard of behavior. New Mexicans expect and deserve elected officials who, regardless of party, will put the people before themselves. Anything less violates a sacred public trust and must be dealt with accordingly.”