July 30, 2021

Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigns

Embattled House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigned from her position in the state legislature amid state and federal investigations into alleged corruption related to her role in Albuquerque Public Schools.

Earlier this week, state investigators raided Williams Stapleton’s house and Friday the Albuquerque Journal reported APS received a federal grand jury subpoena.

By Friday afternoon, House Democrat leadership announced that Williams Stapleton had resigned.

“Given the weight of the allegations against Rep. Stapleton and the ongoing investigation, her resignation from the House is appropriate and in the best interest of the Legislature and the state,” Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos, and House Majority Caucus Chair D. Wonda Johnson said. “There is important work to be done for the people of New Mexico, and House Democrats and our strong leadership team will continue to remain focused on serving our constituents and moving our great state forward.” 

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

The state search warrants said that businesses and charities operated by Williams Stapleton received nearly $1 million from Robotics Management Learning Systems LLC, a Washington D.C.-based company that has contracts with Albuquerque Public Schools.

According to the Journal, the federal subpoena asked for many of the same records in what the paper described as apparently “a parallel investigation” to the state investigation. The federal investigation began “almost 18 months ago” and is “focused on misuse of federal grant money” according to the newspaper.

Republican Party of New Mexico chairman Steve Pearce called it a “sad day in New Mexico politics.”

“These actions must be dealt with appropriately. She should step down because she has violated the public trust and violated her oath of office to New Mexicans,” Pearce said. “Rep. Stapleton must be held accountable, and we hope the investigation and judicial process will take the proper course in this matter.””

The House Democratic Caucus will meet on Saturday to discuss the resignation and a replacement for the party leadership position.

Williams Stapleton’s resignation means the Bernalillo County Commission will choose a replacement who would serve for the remainder of the term, which expires at the end of 2022.