Woman sues city after being banned from Albuquerque senior center

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“Back in October last year, I was placed under a 30-day suspension for bringing my lunch home from the senior center,” said Mary Montoya. 

Almost a year since getting suspended, Montoya is suing the City of Albuquerque. 

KOB 4 sat down with Montoya as she explained her decision, reading the mission statement of the Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs:

“Our mission, we are committed to providing resources with care and compassion that helps our community thrive while embracing aging,” said Montoya. “Aging means I’m 80, and they are not treating me with care and compassion and that is the reason I’m filing my lawsuit.”

Montoya’s original suspension came over food at the Los Volcanes Senior Center. Instead of eating there, she was taking it home – but that’s not allowed. 

Since her ban, she has sent countless letters to the city, but says most have been ignored. 

“Now he’s gotta know I am suing them for $1 million,” said Montoya. 

But why that amount? 

“They gotta notice me for $1 million and that’s how I arrived at my amount,” Montoya said. 

One of the seven people named in this lawsuit is Chris Sanchez, the deputy director of the city’s Senior Affairs Department.

Back in July, he said the ball was in Montoya’s court.

“We have attempted several times to reach out and have a conversation, but the participant continues to refuse over and over again,” said Sanchez. 

“Remember at the end of the interview where he said the ball is in my court now? So I have been bouncing it and bouncing it, and bouncing it, and this is for me the lawsuit. They will hear from me in court that they are not doing their job,” said Montoya. 

City officials said if Montoya would go to the center and sign a paper, saying she would not take food off the property, she’d be allowed to return.  She’s not willing to do that.

She says the city has switched back and forth on their food policies, and believes they don’t know what they’re doing and haven’t been respectful.

Now, the seven people named in the lawsuit have 30 days to respond.