May 16 – The testimony is due to begin on Monday in the trial of former Las Vegas, New Mexico mayor Tonita Gurulé-Girón.
Gurulé-Girón, who resigned in January 2020, is accused of pressuring city workers to commission her friend Marvin Salazar’s construction company, Gemini Construction LLC, where she was also a business partner. This is evident from records filed by the Attorney General’s office.
Gurulé-Girón, 63, “repeatedly intervened and committed official acts, using her position of power and authority to manipulate (or circumvent) the procurement process in order to benefit Marvin Salazar, her friend / business partner,” the complaint states . “In addition, Gurulé-Girón has improved her own financial position after receiving in-kind setbacks from Salazar to help her finalize Salazar contracts with the city.”
According to affidavits filed with the 4th Judicial District in San Miguel County, the Attorney General’s Office will present the jury with records from Community 1st Bank Las Vegas.
In March, Gurulé-Girón’s attorney, JoHanna Cox, filed multiple motions to dismiss the case in which she denied that her client had a business interest in the company, citing the city code which does not involve the mayor in the procurement process .
According to a petition for dismissal, Cox doesn’t believe the state will have evidence to link Gurulé-Girón to the treaties.
“Salazar has certain contracts for the city of Las Vegas,” said the application. “No witness offered by the state can prove that the defendant Gurulé-Girón, as mayor, was involved in the process of selecting contractors, awarding contracts or paying contractors.”
According to the criminal complaint, the General Prosecutor’s Office can link Gurulé-Girón to contracts with her friend’s company via SMS and irregularities in the procurement process.
The story goes on
In April 2016, according to the complaint, the city received three bids for new flooring in the town hall, and Price’s Home Furnishings’ offer of $ 6,529 was turned down when an unknown person wrote at the end of Price’s bid that the company only made laminate flooring. what the owner later told investigators was wrong.
After Price’s offer was disqualified, the contract was awarded to Gemini for $ 8,998.
Text messages show that Salazar went to Gurulé-Girón’s home with a dozen roses the night before his company received an order. In September of this year, according to the criminal complaint, the order was revised and reissued for $ 19,422.
“Salazar’s revised bill reflected almost exactly what Gurulé-Girón had told him,” said the criminal complaint.
“It is evident that Gurulé-Girón directly assisted Salazar in writing the revised bill that was later presented to the city for paying public money at excessive cost,” the complaint said.
Salazar has been accused of once offering or paying for illegal setbacks and issuing or allowing a bogus public voucher. In March 2017, the city of Gemini placed an “emergency order” for $ 10,000 to repair a city hall water leak that the city’s former risk manager Darlene Arguello, according to investigators, was “absolutely not an emergency” complaint.
A revised order was issued less than a month later, increasing the amount to $ 94,204.
“This $ 84,204 expansion was awarded exclusively to Gemini Construction with no procurement process going beyond the original alleged emergency,” said the criminal complaint.