March 22, 2016

Griego faces a tenth corruption charge

Former State Senator Phil Griego is facing another felony charge.

Phil Griego

Phil Griego

A tenth charge appeared on a Tuesday filing from the Attorney General’s office in First Judicial District Court. This is in addition to the nine charges Griego already faced.

The felony charge of unlawful interest in a public contract of more than $50 appeared on a filing outlining the charges against Griego. The land sale at the center of the criminal allegations also resulted in Griego’s resignation from the Senate last year.

The attorney general wants to set a date of arraignment within 15 days of filing the criminal information.

The new charge cites law that bars public officials from receiving “a commission check and gross-receipts tax payment” of over $50 “from a purchaser or purchaser’s agent in connection with the sale or purchase of securities, goods, leases, lands, or anything of value by the State or it’s political subdivisions.”

The San Juan Democrat allegedly orchestrated the sale of a property in Santa Fe, off of which he made a commission. He also allegedly pocketed more of the commission than an original agreement with a broker, per his previous charges.

A spokesman for Attorney General Hector Balderas would not comment on the new filings.

After the Attorney General filed charges against Griego at the end of February, Griego defended himself in an interview with NM Political Report.

The Legislative Council Service is attempting to stop the Attorney General from accessing documents related to Griego’s resignation. Griego resigned after admitting he violated the state constitution and Senate rules because of the land swap.

Griego did not carry the legislation in question, though he allegedly orchestrated its passage.

Independent reporter Peter St. Cyr, writing for the Santa Fe Reporter in 2014, first reported on the land deal. The story focused on Griego brokering the sale of a Santa Fe building for the Seret family.

The family had a lease with the state on the building that included a clause that gave them the first right of purchase at fair market value if the state ever decided to sell the property.

Griego engineered legislation that would allow for the sale when he asked Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, to carry the legislation for him.

Griego also allegedly pressured the Capitol Buildings Planning Commission to review the deal; the commission had no authority to reject the deal but the legislation required a review for the deal to go through.

After Griego’s resignation, NM Political Report found that he was still spending his leftover campaign cash on events for constituents. Since he resigned he no longer had constituents.

Griego said told NM Political Report at the time he wasn’t looking to run for office again. He later told other outlets that he was considering another run. The report caught the eye of the office of the Secretary of State, which then asked Griego for more information on his spending after his resignation.