Senator Phil Griego, D-San Jose, has resigned amid allegations of improperly profiting from a real estate deal and violating the state constitution.
Shortly before 1:00 pm, the Senate read Griego’s short resignation letter into the record. The Senate quickly moved on to normal business without any discussion.
A Senate member with knowledge of the Democratic caucus told New Mexico Political Report, “The choice was resignation or a possible vote on removal from office.”
The member, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the conversations, had told New Mexico Political Report on Friday that it was likely the Senate Ethics Committee would be holding an ethics committee hearing on Griego and the controversial deal. With Griego’s resignation, the ethics hearing will no longer be held.
Griego, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, did not show up for the floor session or committee hearings on Friday.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Griego was not excused.
Also from that New Mexican piece:
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, reflected for a long while Friday when asked if Griego would resign from the Senate because of ethical or legal concerns.
“I don’t have an answer for that question,” Sanchez said.
Earlier in the day, Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, tweeted that Griego resigned.
I’ve just spoken with my colleague and friend who has just delivered a letter from Sen. Griego resigning from the NM Sen.
— Joseph Cervantes (@SenJoeCervantes) March 14, 2015
Rumors swept the Roundhouse late this week that Griego would possibly be censured or even expelled by the Senate. It would be the first censure or expulsion of a member of the Senate in the state’s history.
The deal was first reported by the Santa Fe Reporter last year.
From that piece.
Signed in September 2012, the lease was a win for both sides. Over time, it could have generated more than $1.3 million dollars in rental income and $250,000 in property improvements for State Parks. But during the last legislative session, lawmakers voted to allow the natural resources department to change course and instead sell the building to the Serets for $570,000. Months later, some of those same lawmakers question whether taxpayers got the best deal for the state’s property. Others are scratching their heads about why Sen. Phil A Griego, D-Santa Fe, a licensed real estate agent, brokered the deal a month after he cast a vote that allowed the transaction. And some leaders want want to know if they were deliberately misled about the reasons for selling the building.
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Andy Lyman contributed to this report.
The resignation letter has been added to this post.
Correction, 03-14-15 3:43 pm:
The lede was updated to show that his resignation was not in response to a vote, but rather to the fact that the real estate deal broke the state constitution.