July 28, 2021

AG raids House Majority Leader’s home

Joe Gratz

Flickr/cc

State investigators served search warrants at the Albuquerque home of House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton according to multiple media reports.

The Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican and other outlets reported the warrants from the Attorney General’s office were in regard to investigations into ties to Robotics Management Learning Systems LLC, a Washington D.C.-based company that has had a contract with Albuquerque Public Schools for over a decade.

The investigation includes allegations of “racketeering, money laundering, receiving illegal kickbacks and violations of the Governmental Conduct Act.”

The Journal reported the search warrants said businesses and charities operated by Williams Stapleton received more than $950,000 from the company since 2012.

Williams Stapleton is the career and technical education director for the school district, which is the largest in the state.

The other two members of House Democrat leadership, Speaker of the House Brian Egolf of Santa Fe and Majority Chair D. Wonda Johnson of Rehoboth, said in a statement that they were “shocked and dismayed by the deeply troubling allegations against Rep. Stapleton.”

The two said they had “never seen any instances of impropriety or criminal behavior in her work serving in the House, but New Mexicans deserve to know that their elected officials hold the highest ethical standards and are free of corruption.” 

The two also said the interim legislative ethics committee would start its own investigation.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was “deeply, deeply troubled” by the reports of the investigation into Williams Stapleton.

While acknowledging that Williams Stapleton is innocent until proven guilty, Lujan Grisham said “public confidence in government is seriously damaged by even the appearance of impropriety, or illegal activity, which is why public officials must always hold themselves to the highest possible standard of behavior.”

The Republican Party of New Mexico said in a statement, “If the allegations prove true, they are a disturbing violation of the sacred public trust.”