This past April, we reported about how retired APD Senior Sergeant, Paul Heh, filed a complaint against the APOA for the questionable spending practices by former president (and former officer) Joey Sigala and former vice-president Felipe "Flip" Garcia. Sgt. Heh's letter was not only in response to APD Chief Schultz's erroneous claim that an investigation could not commence without a complaint, but it was also simply the right thing to do. Many who have either retired or resigned from the department had paid money into the APOA's general fund and thanks to APOA lawyer Fred Mowrer"s email alerting all to the issue, it seemed those funds were spent unlawfully. In fact it seems they were embezzled.
Chief Schultz initially wanted to the keep the financial crimes investigation in house by assigning White Collar Crimes Sergeant Anthony Sedillo to the case, but because of Sgt. Sedillo's conflict of interest, investigators from the NM State Police came in--and are still conducting their detailed investigation. As we reported last spring, Eyes close to that investigation have told us it is not "if" crimes occurred but "how many."
Despite all of this, the new leadership of the APOA, Greg Weber and Tommy Henderson remained motionless and silent in confrontation to the events swirling around them. While Sigala and Garcia resigned in disgrace, Weber and Henderson dutifully stepped forward and did a press release in Mayor Berry's media room and announced, to the Mayor's benefit, the suspension of providing any financial relief to officers who had been involved in shootings. Shortly thereafter, the APOA voted for a new vice-president and former Chicagoan Shawn Willoghby was elected. All during this dynamic period and much of the period over which massive funds disappeared from the APOA's coffers, APOA treasurer Matt Fisher remained in place and steadfastly held that he had done nothing wrong.
Finally, this past summer the APOA invited an auditor to come in to do their own investigation of the missing money. Our Eyes tell us this delay was the result of the assignment of a committee to look in to the matter and decide whether an audit was even necessary and decide on a CPA firm to do the work.
Well, after months of work and review our Eyes tell us the CPA presented her findings this week. After years of abuse of spending member's money, after the resignation of the former president (and his subsequent arrest), and vice president, after the maneuvering of new leadership seemingly at the direction of the mayor, after countless delays to invite an auditor in, after the public announcement of a criminal investigation into the matter by the NMSP, and after spending over $18,000 on the audit, our Eyes tell us:
Over $150,000 was spent via credit card and unjustified checks during Sigala's reign as the APOA president but that because there are no receipts and by-laws don't specifically limit such actions there no wrong doing can be proved.
In an email released to the media this week, APOA President Weber stated that the APOA is at a "cross roads" and never in the APOA's history have there been such regularly low turnouts. Monthly APOA meetings have only had enough members to show up for a quorum in one of the last ten months. That means nothing will get done because no motion can be heard or voted on for approval. Weber's response was to conduct yet ANOTHER survey of concerns the members have so that they can best be addressed. Matters addressing treasurer Matt Fisher have even been shelved because nobody feels they can do anything.
We at the Eye are flabbergasted! As our Eyes continue to flood us with emails, the issue is not that the APOA executive board needs to hear from the members, its that the members need to hear from the executive board! Over $150,000 remains simply unaccounted and members are told nothing can be done. The annual income of the APOA hovers around $300,000...that means almost half of each members contribution is unaccounted for! The mayor continues to breach and violate existing contract provisions and Chief Schultz has driven APD off a cliff thanks to his endless changing of procedures, grand standing on false incidents, lies, coverups, and seemingly criminal actions, yet the APOA leadership's response is to survey its members what to do. Really?!
Mr. Weber and to all the other executive members of the APOA, the time for talk and surveys has long gone. Your members need to see leadership and know that they are being represented. So far it seems not only are their financial interests been cast aside but their labor interests as well. It is time for demonstrable action, because staying in-line with the APOA's concern for its funds with a "talk is cheap" mantra is not helping. Despite the Albuquerque Journal's best effort to deflect criticism against Chief Schultz and his endless string of failures, the fact is APD is headed to a manpower and skills deficit crisis. The things that need to be done will surely invite scrutiny from the 5th Floor and the paper, but what needs to be done is restore respect amongst the members. The members need to know you care and words are not sufficient. They need to see ACTION!
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes