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

Aug 11, 2009

The Alcalde Files: A Sense of Entitlement

Plagued by scandal but blessed with a forgetful constituency, The Almighty Alcalde seems to have found ways to fill his pockets - at least until he gets caught. Of course, Marty's punishment is generally a slap on the wrist rather than an indictment. The 2002 ABQPAC scandal was one such incident.

After taking back the Alcalde's chair from Jimmy "Carter" Baca to begin his 2nd term as mayor, Marty decided that this whole mayor thing was costing him too much money and that the $90,000 or so a year that he received for the position just wasn't covering his expenses. The easiest way to cover those expenses was to pass the hat and ABQPAC was born.
Mayor Martin Chávez is using thousands of dollars donated by private contributors to defray family expenses, ranging from his wife's telephone bills to the cost of taking his family on a goodwill trip to Japan.

Money has been donated by high-ranking city employees, real estate developers, lawyers, bankers and other supporters to a political action committee known as ABQPAC, formed during Chávez's first week in office.
The ABQPAC scam was simple - shakedown a bunch of contractors, businesses, and city employees. Their "voluntary" donations would go to the Alcalde's laundry where Marty could then pick-up his cleaned cash to be used any way he chose. It's a neat trick more worthy of mobster than a mayor.

At the time Marty defended the use of his personal PAC slush fund by claiming that spending donations from the PAC saved the taxpayers money.
Using a political action committee "seemed to be the most proper way" to raise money, [Chavez] said, because there is public disclosure and it does not depend on government funds.

It saves money for taxpayers, he said, because it involves the use of private donations to cover some expenses that might have reasonably been charged to city government — such as certain travel costs and his cell phone.
There are a number of problems with the mayor's logic. First and foremost, receiving "donations" from city employees, contractors, and those who have business with the city is prohibited (even waaay back in 2001) by the City Charter - even if the money had been laundered through the ABQPAC laundry. As it turns out, some of the donations to the PAC were on checks written to "Mayor Martin Chavez."
Some checks in the files of ABQPAC were written to Mayor Martin Chavez personally, not to the committee that he has said provided a buffer between him and contributors.
-"PAC Checks Made To Chavez.(Final)." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM). 2002. AccessMyLibrary. 11 Aug. 2009

But attorney Jerry Walz, whose law firm has a city contract, says he didn't know ABQPAC even existed when his firm paid $125 through a check made out to "Martin Chavez."

Walz said he was later dismayed to learn how the money was used and wouldn't have contributed "if I would have had full and complete knowledge."
-"PAC Checks Made To Chavez.(Final)." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM). 2002. AccessMyLibrary. 11 Aug. 2009
In addition, there were a number of city employees that thought giving a few bucks to the boss to defray his personal expenses was a good idea. People like former Chief of Staff Teri Baird, Deputy Fire Chief Ron Bustos, and Fire Chief Robert Ortega all gave at least $1,000. You can't believe that high ranking city officials "voluntarily" cough up a THOSAND DOLLARS plus if they don't believe they have to (

We've got to hand it to Marty this time. When the story broke and it was apparent that the whole "saving taxpayers money" thing wasn't going to work, The Almighty Alcalde ate some humble pie and and two weeks later offered to repay "every dime."
"All monies expended by ABQPAC regarding travel, phones and even campaign-loan reimbursement will be tallied and repaid by me personally," he said. "I will have no association financially with ABQPAC. Every single dime will be repaid."
Folks, that's a little bit like the bank robber offering to repay the bank after he's already stolen the money. A crime was committed and even if all of the money is recovered the criminal should still be prosecuted.

At the time, Attorney General Patricia Madrid - a political ally of The Almighty Alcalde - did what she always did when it came to New Mexico corruption... nothing. And the council - taking the AG's lead - followed suit and voted not to request the AG's involvement after fierce behind the scenes lobbying by the mayor and his staff.

The argument at the time was that the ethics board should be allowed to do its work without being "poisoned" by a criminal investigation. Since when does a non-criminal proceeding take precedence over a criminal proceeding? There's little doubt that a criminal investigation of ABQPAC was not in Marty's best interests. The ethics board can rule on whether or not Marty violated the City Charter's ethics regulations, but doesn't have the authority to determine whether or not Marty broke state law.

Predictably, Manny's in-law at the time got by with a slap on the wrist from the City of Albuquerque Ethics Board which found:
Chávez accepted gifts from people with an interest in city affairs, failed to report certain campaign contributions and failed to abide by a legal limit on the size of those contributions.

Chávez received nearly $60,000 in assistance from ABQPAC, a political action committee that raised money from city contractors, city employees and others. The money helped pay for Chávez family travel and other expenses.

He voluntarily refunded the money when the issue sparked controversy.
This whole ABQPAC thing is remarkably similar to Marty's more recent mayoral thuggery - Bode Aviation. In a recent deposition, John Bode of Bode Aviation claims (among other things) that the mayor tried to get free services for his senatorial campaign and free trips to Mexico.

It's hard not to believe Mr. Bode since Marty has a history of shaking down businesses in an effort to fill his mayoral pockets. Unlike ABQPAC, it appears that the FBI is interested in taking a look at Mr. Bode's claims and Bode's federal lawsuit is going forward. This time The Almighty Alcalde won't have the political influence to guide or stop either proceeding. This time The Almighty Alcalde's sense of entitlement may cost him an election and maybe even his freedom.


Anonymous said...

How can the mayor with a history so described be elected to another term especially when he went to court to have the City Charter over ruled, going against the will of the people. Speak about corruption.
Vote "Anyone but Chavez for Mayor"

Anonymous said...

You know it happened! That's just how they work......

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. You got cops ranting and raving all over this site over petty wisecracks and here's the story that takes down Chavez....wake up sheep!

Anonymous said...

Watch the video...

Marty slips up and says "if they win like everyone [else]...."

Oops. Pay to play...alive and well in Albuquerque.

Anonymous said...

the story that "takes down" Chavez? Are you kidding? He's untouchable. Do I think his policies, practices and overall business and/or political decisions need to be audited, yes. Will it ever happen: No. He's made/bought too many friends in high places that are beholden to him, the Albuquerque Journal being just one. At the least it involves local LE agencies, and the legal & judicial systems. What do you think he's been doing these past 9 years? He's been forging strong influential political allies that serve to protect & defend him and to ensure that he remains in power. The average "Joe Voter" is the least of his concerns because it doesn't need to be. Marty's political machine is in excellent running condition and will continue to generate enough power to keep him right where he wants to be. He's completely out of touch with the average citizen of Albuquerque. But what amazes me is that he doesn't pretend not to be! Good story Eye but not enough everyday people in this town will ever read it.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody locate that link to the Federal lawsuit against Martin Chavez?