APS chief: ‘It was a bad hire, no question’

One day before an emergency school board meeting that could decide his fate with Albuquerque Public Schools, Superintendent Luis Valentino is speaking with media about the controversy that has rocked the school district this month. New Mexico Political Report spoke with Valentino midday Wednesday about the controversial text message that started it all, the hire of a deputy now in jail in Denver for breaking his pretrial conditions for charges against him of sexual assault of a child and what exactly Valentino’s potential future with Albuquerque Public Schools would look like. Here is Valentino addressing the scandal in his own words, starting with the first dispute, which involved APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya’s opposition to an audit of the school district’s IT systems.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed. New Mexico Political Report: Why does the IT systems need an audit? Luis Valentino: it wasn’t just about that system.

Former APS deputy superintendent arrested, now in Denver jail

The former Albuquerque Public Schools deputy superintendent who is facing child sexual abuse and domestic violence charges was booked into Denver jail on Wednesday. The Albuquerque Journal first reported the news on Wednesday, citing online court records. The newspaper says Jason Martinez is being held without bond. A spokeswoman with the District Attorney’s office in Denver confirmed the news to New Mexico Political Report. The spokeswoman, Lynn Kimbrough confirmed that he is being held in the Denver Detention Center.

KUNM talks to NM Political Report about APS scandal

New Mexico Political Report senior reporter Joey Peters appeared on KUNM Tuesday afternoon to talk about the scandal enveloping Albuquerque Public Schools. Peters was on during All Things Considered on Tuesday and spoke about being the first to report on the mistaken text message APS superintendent Luis Valentino sent to Chief Financial Officer Don Moya and how he was the first to report that former APS deputy superintendent Jason Martinez is facing trial in Colorado for sexual abuse of a child. Audio of the five-minute conversation with Elaine Baumgartel is available on KUNM’s website. While the story started with the text message sent by Valentino to Moya, when the text message appeared to be meant for Public Education Department secretary Hanna Skandera, it quickly ballooned beyond that. Martinez was then accused of attempting to steer a possible contract for an IT assessment toward the technology company of a former work colleague, one who was fired from Denver Public Schools for accepting kickbacks.

Gov orders review of school background checks after APS debacle

As Albuquerque Public Schools remains in the thick of scandal, Gov. Susana Martinez is ordering a review of background check policies in all New Mexico school districts. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday that the state Public Safety Department and Public Education Department will conduct a “thorough compliance review” to make sure each district is performing “timely” background checks of its employees. The order follows New Mexico Political Report’s revelation last week that now former APS Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez was arrested in 2013 in Denver on charges of sexual assault of a child. Jason Martinez, who was also arrested earlier this year on two violent assault charges, is facing trial in Denver this October. A warrant is currently out for Jason Martinez’ arrest for breaking pretrial conditions that bar him from leaving Colorado without court approval.

Arrest warrant out for former APS deputy chief

A Denver district judge agreed to revoke two bonds for Timothy Jason Martinez. The order from Judge Martin Egelhoff came late Monday afternoon, the same day the District Attorney’s Office filed the motion to revoke the bonds. This means an arrest warrant is now out for Martinez, who resigned from his role as deputy superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools last Thursday. “As a standard practice, we have reached out to his attorney to let him know of the motion and warrant,” Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough wrote in an email Tuesday morning. Martinez’ arrest warrant is just the latest in a ballooning APS scandal that’s involved alleged retaliation against an administrator, a missed background check of an alleged pedophile and a whistleblower lawsuit implicating the state’s education secretary and its highest office—the governor—in the controversy.

Suit: Gov, PED secretary influenced APS deputy superintendent hire

© New Mexico Political Report, 2015. Media outlets may republish this story in whole or in part by providing credit to the New Mexico Political Report as the original source. Contact editor@nmpoliticalreport.com for additional inquiries
The latest development in the ongoing Albuquerque Public Schools scandal says Gov. Susana Martinez and state Education Secretary Hanna Skandera had a hand in the hire of the disgraced former deputy superintendent of the school district. The chief financial officer for Albuquerque Public Schools filed a lawsuit against his employer Monday afternoon, alleging a civil conspiracy against him and violations of his whistleblower rights. A spokesman for Skandera denied the allegations, saying he “has an ax to grind.” Don Moya’s lawsuit alleges that embattled APS Superintendent Luis Valentino originally offered Moya the position of deputy superintendent.

Former APS deputy superintendent also faces domestic abuse charges

Timothy Jason Martinez hasn’t just been arrested for sexual assault of a child, but also two violent assault charges. Earlier this year, Denver police booked the now former Albuquerque Public Schools deputy superintendent on two assault charges, both involving men. “The allegation is that on Jan. 25 he was involved in altercation with person he had an intimate relationship with,” said Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough. 
One of the allegations from the police report says Martinez struck a person with the side mirror of a car. Police issued a warrant for Martinez on Feb.

AG to look into APS ‘safety breach’

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced on Monday that he will look into the “safety breach” at Albuquerque Public Schools. “I am very concerned about the allegations that safety protocols were breached at APS, I’ve decided to initiate a safety assessment of the matter, and I will be communicating with the district today,” Balderas said in a statement. The school district has been at the center of controversy for weeks. The “safety breach” part appears to come from former deputy superintendent Jason Martinez. Martinez is facing trial for multiple counts of sexual abuse of a child, ranging from sexual abuse of a child from a position of trust to sexual abuse of a child-pattern of abuse.

No decision on superintendent by APS board—yet

Luis Valentino is still in charge of the school district, at least for now. A grueling five-hour special Albuquerque Public Schools board meeting over “a limited personnel matter relating to the superintendent” didn’t result in any immediate decision on Valentino’s position as superintendent of APS. Instead, another special school board meeting will take place Thursday at 7 am. Nearly the entire meeting occurred in executive, closed-door session. At the end of the meeting, school board President Don Duran read a statement saying the board had a “very thorough and rigorous discussion of the facts” with Valentino.

APS HR head: Superintendent knew background check wasn’t completed

The Albuquerque Journal reported on Saturday night that APS superintendent Luis Valentino was told multiple times that his deputy superintendent did not have a completed background check. The state’s largest newspaper reported on a letter from  APS interim assistant superintendent for Human Resources Karen Rudys in which she said that she informed Valentino multiple times about the lack of a background check for Jason Martinez. New Mexico Political Report revealed on Friday that Martinez, under the name Timothy Jason Martinez, was facing multiple charges related to sexual abuse of a child. Martinez’s trial is set for October. From that report:
Martinez abruptly resigned from APS on Thursday.