December 21, 2016

Quezada’s win contested in court

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APS school board member and actor Steven Michael Quezada.

An incoming Bernalillo County Commissioner and Breaking Bad actor is being accused of fraudulently declaring himself a candidate.

Patricia Paiz, who lost the general election for Bernalillo county commission in district 2, filed a complaint in district court Tuesday claiming her opponent, Steven Michael Quezada, should have never been a candidate.

Paiz’s lawyers, A. Blair Dunn and Colin Hunter, filed the complaint that says Quezada’s wife Cherise filled out her husband’s candidacy declaration form, therefore making all votes for Quezada illegal.

“Contestant Patricia B. Paiz is the successful candidate having received a majority of the legal votes in the November 8, 2016 election,” the complaint reads.

One of the exhibits Dunn and Hunter attached is an affidavit from “certified questioned document examiner” Karen Fisher-Weinberg, stating the form is in question.

Quezada emailed a statement through a spokesman and said the complaint is nothing but sour grapes and that Paiz and her lawyers are “grasping for straws.”

“Republican Patricia Paiz, and her family had a vendetta against me from day one, they viciously and falsely attacked me personally throughout the campaign,” Quezada said.

Quezada said his wife and his campaign manager were both with him when he personally filed as a candidate.

There is no designated signature line on the declaration form, but Dunn told NM Political Report  Quezada still swore the form was accurate.

“The law says he has to swear and attest to the accuracy of that form,” Dunn said.

The form does have the words “I make the foregoing affidavit under oath, knowing that any false statement herein constitutes a felony punishable under the criminal laws of New Mexico.”

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office already certified the election results, but Dunn and Hunter maintain the certification is not valid.

Quezada’s spokesman Scott Forrester sent NM Political Report photos he says were taken when Quezada filed for candidacy. The photos include Quezada going through the filing process with the Bernalillo County Clerk’s office and Quezada posing with the final paperwork.

“The voters have spoken, I ran a positive campaign legally and never violated any laws,” Quezada said in his statement.

Dunn said his client wants to make it clear that she’s not simply bitter about losing.

“It’s not so much about her being in there,” Dunn said. “It’s more about an honest person being in there.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the hand writing expert.

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