Independent Source PAC

Protecting Working Families by investigating and exposing the actions, agenda, and hypocrisy of the Political Right    

Update of Investigation into Awarding Billion Dollar Contract to the Downs at Albuquerque by the Martinez Administration.
Summary of statement of Michael Corwin, Exec. Director, Independent Source PAC, at Press Conference held on Thursday, April 5, 2012. Magicians call it sleight of hand. They use misdirection and patter to get the audience to look where they want them to look so the audience misses the direct manipulation behind the trick. The audience accepts the trick at face value and goes home happy. Susana Martinez and Rep. Nate Gentry stole a chapter from the magician’s handbook by pushing through a “tough anti-corruption” bill so that the media and the public would miss the direct manipulation behind the Downs’ deal. While others looked away, Independent Source PAC did not. Our deep research beyond the misdirection exposed the manipulation and now everyone can see the illegal actions behind the “dirty” Downs deal. In 2006 Senator Dede Feldman wrote SB 0344, which was signed into law. Her bill prohibited contributions or anything of value by a prospective contractor to a public official or the public official’s employees. SB 0344 addressed not just the procurement process but also negotiations of a sole source contract. The Downs deal involved two contract processes between the same entities regarding the operation of the same facility, the 25-year billion-dollar-plus contract, and the sole-source 1-year contract extension permitting the operation of the racino by the Downs until a long-term contract could be awarded. There were two different contributions by Downs majority owners Windham and Turner that fell during the solesource contract negotiations and approval process while Martinez was governor. A $5,000 contribution to Susana PAC on 5/6/11 from Brazos Land & Cattle and a 7/7/11 $5,000 contribution to Susana PAC from Sunray Gaming LLC. The 7/7/11 contribution actually came two days after the RFP for the 25-year contract was set for posting (July 5th) by the administration. They delayed the posting, took the $5000, and then posted the RFP. In addition, Windham and Turner contributed $5,000 to Susana Martinez as governor-elect two days after the state fair commission announced that it would leave to Martinez the decision about what to do with a pending sole-source contract. All three contributions came during the sole-source contract negotiations and approval process. All three were given to Martinez knowing that she had direct control over the contract process. Tom Tinnin and Charlotte Rode, two Republican appointees of Martinez, have already gone public with how she controlled the process. Martinez in fact replaced qualified evaluators chosen by Tinnin so that she could stack the deck with guys like Chuck Gara. Martinez gave Gara, who has strong ties to Jay McCleskey and a history of trying to rig outcomes to benefit contributors, a $91,000 a year job at a time when the commercial real estate was in the toilet. She made him the lead evaluator. He gave the Downs the notorious perfect score of 300 for managerial expertise, awarding them
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the contract by a mere 15 points out of 1000. We covered the extensive list of Downs’s problems in our report dated 1/20/12. Martinez installed Buster Goff on the state fair commission in June 2011. She never disclosed publicly that his daughter-in-law and business partner is the lead fundraiser for Susana PAC (and was chair of her inaugural committee). Martinez and McCleskey paid Andrea Goff over $29,000 just from May to September 2011. If the Senate knew that information, and that it had been concealed, it is doubtful Goff would have been confirmed. Goff was the deciding vote. He was given a unique opportunity to alter the contract terms and switched from opposing the contract to supporting it. Without Goff’s switch the Downs deal was dead. Two more significant legal issues: ISPAC IPRA’d the RFP response from the Downs. We were given several campaign contribution disclosure forms. There was no contribution disclosure form for the Sunray Gaming contribution given shortly before the RFP was released. After the RFP response had been submitted by the Downs and Laguna Development, but before the RFP evaluations, Windham and Martinez cozied up to each other at the Junior Livestock Auction at the State Fair. I bet Laguna Development would have liked to have had Martinez’s ear all to themselves for over an hour. So straight up violation of the law hidden with sleight of hand from Martinez and her attack dog Gentry, who at Martinez’s direction launched a retaliatory investigation into Charlotte Rode and publicly impugned her ethics. Finally, the interconnectivity between the people working with the Downs and for Martinez assured there would be no real objectivity in the process. The Downs very publicly hired Darren White just two weeks before the RFP was due. White paid Nicole McCleskey, wife of Jay McCleskey, to do her polling in his congressional race. White received $1500 in contributions from Gara in that same campaign. White is a close personal friend of Dan Mourning, who issued the RFP and determined its key components. Pat Rogers, the Downs lawyer/lobbyist, was so close to Jay McCleskey that the national Republicans asked McCleskey to try to convince Rogers to fill the US Attorney slot after they removed David Iglesias. Rogers, McCleskey, and Darren White also worked together on a lawsuit targeting driver’s licenses issued to illegal immigrants, which they used to try to claim voter fraud. END.

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