NM attorney general orders raid of Las Vegas City Hall, mayor's home
June 27, 2019 06:25 PM
LAS VEGAS, N.M. - The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is investigating the mayor of Las Vegas for bid rigging.
Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron's home was raided Thursday morning as was Las Vegas City Hall.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas accuses Gurule-Giron of funneling city contracts to her boyfriend, Marvin Salazar, who owns Gemini Construction.
A search warrant states Gemini Construction competed for a bid in 2016 to install new flooring in City Hall. Balderas alleges the mayor bullied the public works director to bypass procurement laws and award the job to Salazar.
Salazar stated he could do the job for $10,000, but invoiced the city for more than $19,000.
"I can tell you I am very concerned," Balderas said. "I want to ensure that public funds were utilized appropriately. I want to ensure public powers were not abused in any way."
The warrant also alleges that Salazar was awarded another contract to replace flooring when a water leak caused minor damage in City Hall. Salazar charged the city $94,000 for his company's work.
"It is the public money that I am most concerned with. Every dollar should be going to benefit the public. If there are violations of public funds, we will be coming," Balderas warned.
In addition to alleged bid rigging, the warrant states that Gurule-Giron ordered the solid waste director to allow her boyfriend to dump trash for free. And when the solid waste director explained that the practice was illegal, the mayor allegedly told him, "Don't worry about who gets upset, the only toes you need to worry about stepping on are mine. I'm the biggest executive there is."
Las Vegas City Councilor Barbara Casey said she was happy to see the attorney general take action.
"We really need to end this type of corruption that has been occurring here," she said.
Casey was collecting documents and sending them to the attorney general.
"As a city councilor, we are entrusted by the community to protect the taxpayer and their dollars and how they are spent," she said.
KOB 4 attempted to contact Gurule-Giron, but was unsuccessful.
Click here to read the entire search warrant filed by the AG's office today in San Miguel County.
Updated: June 27, 2019 06:25 PM
Created: June 27, 2019 12:20 PM
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