July 25, 2016

Report outlines details on harassment, more at Game and Fish department

Jim Lane. Photo via State Land Commissioner's website

Former employers at the state Game and Fish Department outlined how the once-thriving department turned into a paranoid department with many longtime employees leaving their jobs—all of this before sexual harassment from the director that led to a settlement of $65,000.

Jim Lane. Photo via State Land Commissioner's website

Jim Lane. Photo via State Land Commissioner’s website

The recounting largely follows the story of Sonya Quintana, who spoke to The Santa Fe New Mexican. Quintana received a $65,000 settlement because of sexual harassment from Jim Lane, the former director of the Game and Fish Department.

The paper said that the stories by Quintana were backed up by interviews with other current and former members of the department and documents.

The most explosive allegations were about Jim Lane, the director who resigned.

Lane sent a series of texts to Quintana from when he was director. The texts asked Quintana to join him in his hotel room during a work trip.

The texts, and other evidence, that led to the state settlement with Quintana led to Lane’s resignation.

Lane received another state job, this time with the State Land Office. Then, the Albuquerque Journal published the text messages and Lane resigned from that state position. State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn called the publication of Lane’s text messages “dirty politics.”

A spokeswoman for the State Land Office said they did not know about the sexual harassment allegations when Lane was hired.

Quintana wasn’t the only one who said she faced harassment from Lane.

While still in charge of Game and Fish, Lane ordered for video cameras to be set up to watch Angela Smith, another Game and Fish employee who alleged sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. The complaints were not about Lane directly.

Smith said she was blackballed from state jobs after leaving the Game and Fish Department. She now has a job with the federal government, out of state.

Others said they were worried about Lane’s connections in state government and kept complaints to themselves.

The New Mexican story has much more details on Lane’s tenure as head of the Game and Fish Department, including on how he drastically restructured the department and alienated staff, chasing many away.