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Las Vegas, NM Mayor Charged With Six Felonies, Bribery, Abuse of Power


You can say that it’s taking a long time to Drain the Swamp on the national level, and you’d have a point.

So far, no high profile arrests.

No one named Obama, Clinton or even Bush or Podesta has been so much as questioned (as far as we know).

But there sure does seem to be a LOT of activity on the state and local level.

It seems barely a week goes by without a high profile Mayor or State Congress person being charged with serious crimes.

And we just got another one.



According to Las Vegas Optic:

Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron was charged with six felonies Monday afternoon in connection to an ongoing investigation into allegations of bid-rigging, fraud and abuse of power.

Gurule-Giron faces felony charges of official acts for personal financial interest, ethical principles of public service, soliciting or receiving illegal kickbacks, conspiracy to commit making or permitting false public voucher, unlawful interest in a public contract and demanding or receiving bribe by public officer or public employee.

The criminal complaint in the case was filed by the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office just before 3 p.m. Monday. An arraignment is scheduled in the courtroom of Abigail Aragon at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.

The AG’s office raided Gurule-Giron’s home, city hall and the home of Marvin Salazar, the owner of Gemini Construction, who was described as Gurule-Giron’s “boyfriend” and “paramour” in search warrants, on June 27.

Salazar was also charged just before 3 p.m. Monday with felony counts of offering or paying an illegal kickback and making or permitting false public voucher.

The June search warrants indicated the potential of kickbacks, price-rigging, favorable treatment and collusion between Gurule-Giron and Salazar.

As previously reported by the Optic, the affidavit by Special Agent Lindsay McIntosh claimed that the mayor used her position of power to award a contract to Gemini Construction of $8,998 for the installation of hardwood flooring for City Hall — which would later, after being revised and reissued, increase to $19,123.35 — despite being underbid by Price’s Furnishings, who bid $6,529.19 on April 5, 2016.

Price’s bid was rejected because of a note written on the bottom of the bid claiming that the company does not do hardwood flooring. It is not known who wrote the note.

Martin Gonzales, the former public works manager for the city, told investigators he had planned on installing hardwood flooring because the tile was a possible tripping hazard.

Gonzales said that after Gurule-Giron became mayor, she requested the contract be given to Benavidez Construction. Gonzales, who told the mayor Benavidez Construction must bid, said the mayor then asked the cost of the project. Gonzales did not immediately reveal the price because it would violate the procurement code.

According to the affidavit, the mayor responded, “I am the chief operating executive officer of the city and I was elected to know everything and I will know everything.”

Gonzales, feeling pressured, told the mayor that it would be approximately $9,000, based on the second bid received April 6 from Ron’s Flooring of $9,052. She said to give the contract to Gemini Construction, to which he responded that he could not.

Gonzales’s administrative aide later received the bid from Gemini that was $54 less than Ron’s Flooring on May 4, 2016. The city awarded the contract to Gemini two days later.

On March 31, 2017, an emergency purchase order for a water leak that occurred in City Hall was issued to Gemini in the amount of $10,000.

According to former Risk Manager Darlene Arguello, “This was not an emergency; it absolutely wasn’t.”

It appears as though she is a Democrat (although not yet confirmed):


And from the Albuquerque Journal:

New Mexico’s attorney general has charged the mayor of a troubled city with six felony bribery and abuse of power counts after prosecutors said she steered contracts to a construction firm owned by a man they allege she was romantically involved with.

The Las Vegas Optic reported Tuesday that Las Vegas, New Mexico, Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron was charged.

The charges come after the attorney general’s office last summer raided City Hall, Gurule-Giron’s home and the home of Marvin Salazar, who prosecutors say is the mayor’s boyfriend.

Gurule-Giron’s listed attorney, Ben Andrew Mondragon, did not return phone or email messages left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

In a 2018 interview with the State Auditor’s Office, Gurule-Giron said she did not have a romantic relationship with Salazar and denied having a role in his receiving government contracts, the Journal reported in June.

Gurule-Giron is charged with engaging in official acts for personal financial interest; requesting or receiving something of value while in public service; soliciting or receiving an illegal kickback; conspiracy related to a false public voucher; unlawful interest in a public contract; and demanding or receiving a bribe.

The mayor is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 6.

Salazar was also charged Monday with offering or paying an illegal kickback and making or permitting a false public voucher, according to the newspaper.

It was not immediately clear if Salazar had an attorney.

A message left at a number for his business was not returned and a call to a number listed for his home went unanswered.

Investigators with the attorney general’s office said Gurule-Giron used her position as mayor to send business to Salazar’s construction firm, starting with a 2016 contract for installing hardwood floors at City Hall. The firm initially won a contract for $9,000 for the work, but the contract was later reissued for more than $19,000.


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