May 17, 2016

Pols abandon GOP DA candidate over risque websites

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Screenshot by Joey Peters

"Russia House," which appears on Brad Cates personal website.

Web pages with salacious images that are part of the personal website of a District Attorney candidate in Doña Ana County caused at least three prominent elected Republicans to withdraw their names as co-hosts of an upcoming fundraiser.

The homepage to Brad Cates’ website—www.bradcates.com—shows a picture of the smiling candidate next to bulletpoints of his lawyerly credentials.

But certain pages on Cates’ website—like one showing a picture of a seductive-looking blonde woman next to the words “Russia House” and another showing multiple photos of scantily clad women falling across the screen like a slot machine—are causing controversy.

The pages have been passed around in certain Republican circles in recent days.

Cates is a Republican hoping to replace Doña Ana District Attorney Mark D’Antonio, a Democrat, this fall. He is the only Republican in the race. D’Antonio faces a Democratic opponent in the primary.

In an interview with NM Political Report, Cates maintained that the businesses listed on his website all relate to “business development” for clients in eastern Europe. Cates added that he vets all his clients before he works with them and “has never represented anybody that’s done anything nefarious.”

“What I do for a living mostly is business development,” Cates said. “I do the legal for companies trying to do business development. I do the legal, I do banking, due diligence reports, I do webwork, I buy dotcoms for them.”

As for the pictures of women, Cates argued they’re no more scandalous than what can be found in mainstream magazines, mentioning Vanity Fair specifically.

This Thursday evening a fundraiser for Cates with several top New Mexico Republicans as hosts is scheduled to take place at the Kennedy Law Firm in Albuquerque. Co-hosts of the event include state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, state Economic Development Department Secretary Jon Barela, state House of Representatives Speaker Don Tripp, Republican National Committeeman Pat Rogers, and more. The suggested donation is $250.

"The Indian Giver Jackpot," which appears on Brad Cates' website.

Screenshot by Joey Peters

“The Indian Giver Jackpot,” which appears on Brad Cates’ website.

Three of those listed co-hosts, House Majority Leader Nate Gentry of Albuquerque and state Reps. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo and Sarah Maestas Barnes of Albuquerque, all told NM Political Report that they no longer plan to co-host or attend the event in light of learning about the pages on Cates’ website.

“After several website hosted by Brad Cates were brought to my attention yesterday, I asked that my name be removed from the host list for his upcoming fundraiser,” Gentry said in a statement.

Herrell said discovery of the websites were “a pretty big shock” to her.

“I was very surprised to see Brad’s name associated with websites that look of a promiscuous nature,” she said. “At this time I don’t feel I want my name associated with his campaign.”

Maestas Barnes, who has carried and passed legislation aimed at child predators, said in a statement that she has “always been a strong advocate for women.”

“Therefore, in light of what has recently been brought to my attention regarding Brad Cates, I have withdrawn my participation as a co-host for his upcoming fundraising event,” Maestas Barnes said.

NM Political Report was unable to reach others listed as hosts of the event.

Cates’ “Russia House” webpage, which can be accessed at www.bradcates.com/russiahouse, lists the same telephone number found on his more staid, lawerly homepage.

However, that page couldn’t be more different than a typical lawyer’s website. Next to the photo of the blonde woman are the words “Management Service Inc.” accompanies by a list of the cities “Vancouver, Dallas, Minsk, Vilnius, Sofia, Tel Aviv, Miami.”

Cates tells NM Political Report that Russia House was a company he helped start in the 1990s to facilitate business for clients from eastern Europe who wanted to work in the United States. He said the name came from a novel and movie about a London company that publishes manuscripts from Russian writers.

"Belajools," which appears on Brad Cates' website.

Screenshot by Joey Peters

“Belajools,” which appears on Brad Cates’ website.

“It was a way for an unsophisticated client to do business in the West,” Cates said.

Cates added that Russia House hasn’t been in business for years.

The Russia House webpage can also be accessed through a separate domain, www.russiahouse.ca. Online records show the separate Russia House domain was first registered in 2008 without Cates’ name attached.

Another webpage, which can be accessed at http://bradcates.com/IndianGiverJackpot.html, begins with three rotating pictures of scantily clad women mimicking a slot machine. All three end with the picture of a woman wearing a small bikini.

The words “The Indian Giver Jackpot” banner the top of the page while the phrases “power poker,” “arrow cash” and “poker ball” fall under each of the images of the women. This page also reads, “manufacturer of gaming tables,” “electronic value transmission” and “international online poker.”

Cates said this is a “beta” website, meaning it wasn’t the final version, for a client who wanted to do business with casinos. The page is a “presentation for a casino,” Cates said.

“When you do a beta for a client, you do what they want,” he added.

Cates also points out that none of the pictures contain “topless or bottomless” women and that “not one time ever, in all the work I’ve ever done” has he worked with a business that’s used such photos.

A third webpage called “Belajools” features a photo of a young, elegant-looking woman. “Your passport to a world of luxuries,” the webpage, which can be accessed at http://www.bradcates.com/belajools/page2.html, reads.

Another beta page, Cates said Belajools was for a business that offered an alternative currency similar to BitCoin.

Brad Cates' homepage.

Screenshot by Joey Peters

Brad Cates’ homepage.

An online registry shows that Cates first registered his website in 2001 and most recently updated his registry in 2013.

Paul Kennedy, a former New Mexico Supreme Court justice who has represented d Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration and Martinez’s top political advisor Jay McCleskey, also didn’t return an inquiry left about the fundraiser at his law office Thursday.

A Las Cruces-based attorney, Cates recently worked with the state Legislature to pass asset forfeiture reform legislation. He is also a former four-term state legislator who served as counsel to the New Mexico House Judiciary Committee in 2015.

Cates is one of four plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit against several people over leaked emails from Governor Susana Martinez’s 2010 campaign account. Other plaintiffs have deep ties to the Martinez administration.

The home page of Cates’ website lists the Patriot Act compliance and unlawful government seizure of private property as some of his legal expertise.

Read the invitation to Cates’ fundraiser below:

Cates by New Mexico Political Report

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