Brigette Russell, formally served as a staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

Slush fund? Santa Fe can’t account for $30 million in bond money

By   /  April 9, 2015  /  Accountability, New Mexico, News  /  No Comments

Photo by Brigette Russell

“We really have no idea if there was fraud or embezzlement,” Booth said. “We don’t know how many millions of feet of pipe came in and where it went. My feeling is a lot of stuff walked away, especially now that we know there were absolutely no controls.”

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Small business loans are big business for hotel chains

By   /  April 6, 2015  /  New Mexico, News  /  No Comments

Photo from Small Business Administration

hen most people hear the term small business, they think of a local hair salon or dry cleaner or a family farm. They don’t think of big hotel chains like Hilton and Sheraton, yet they are eligible for Small Business Administration loans. In New Mexico, many of the biggest SBA loans are to franchises of multi-million dollar hotel chains.

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Lawmakers ‘play chicken’ with infrastructure funding, highway safety at stake

By   /  March 31, 2015  /  Jobs + Growth, New Mexico, State Budgets, State Government  /  No Comments

Photo from Flickr Commons

State legislators adjourned this month without funding critical public works projects, including a senior center infested with mold, a veterans home that is out of compliance with the fire code, and a treacherous highway with more fatalities than any in the state.

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Former governor to Martinez: Sign civil-asset forfeiture law

By   /  March 27, 2015  /  New Mexico, News, Politics & Elections  /  No Comments

AP file photo

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is calling on current Governor Susana Martinez to sign legislation to ban civil asset forfeiture. “This is tyranny,” Johnson said Thursday of the practice of seizing assets from people suspected but not convicted of crimes.

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New Mexico moves to abolish civil asset forfeiture

By   /  March 25, 2015  /  New Mexico, News, Power Abuse, State Government  /  No Comments

Photo by Flickr Commons

In 2010, Stephen Skinner and his son got lost driving through New Mexico on their way from Chicago to Las Vegas. After pulling them over for an improper lane change, Albuquerque police officers seized $17,000 in cash and their rental car, and dropped them off at the airport with only the change in their pockets. What most people would call highway robbery – literally in this case – federal and state law enforcement agencies call civil asset forfeiture.

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Disgraced state senator may get taxpayer-funded pension instead of conviction

By   /  March 23, 2015  /  New Mexico, Politics & Elections, Power Abuse, State Government  /  No Comments

AP file photo

State Sen. Phil Griego, D-Santa Fe, resigned before the Senate could censure him for using his office to profit in a shady real estate deal. If he is not convicted of a felony — and neither the DA nor the AG have moved to prosecute — he will receive an $18,000 annual legislative pension for the rest of his life.

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