Sunland Park’s Daniel Salinas facing yet more charges
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It’s official: The situation in Sunland Park has gotten crazier than the last two seasons of “Lost.”
On Friday (April 6), Daniel Salinas was arrested again, this time charged with 18 new felony charges, including receiving and soliciting illegal kickbacks, fraud and ethics violations.
Salinas is the man who:
*as the border town’s mayor pro tem got drunk with then-mayor Martin Resendiz during a meeting at a restaurant with officials from a California firm during which Resendiz said he got so inebriated he signed city contracts while not realizing their import
*has been accused of trying to blackmail rival mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez with a videotape in which a topless woman gave Hernandez a lap dance
*has been accused of getting Sunland Park city employees to entice Texas residents come to New Mexico and commit voter fraud by taking part in the mayoral election last month
*nonetheless won the mayoral election over Hernandez (the lap dance guy) and a third candidate who is unemployed
*despite his election cannot step foot onto City Hall premises nor speak to any Sunland Park employees as part of the restrictions of his bond
*just this week lost in an appeal to the state Supreme Court, arguing that he should be allowed to take the oath of office despite the charges he’s facing
As for Friday’s new charges, they involve Salinas as well as Sunland Park Public Works Director Jesus Dario Hernandez and Jorge Angulo of Envirosystems Management Consultants in what officials say was an elaborate scheme involving padded expense reports, kickbacks and prostitutes.
Envirosystems had a $2.4 million contract to do an environmental impact study of a border crossing for the town, and picked up expenses for Salinas and other city officials who attended a conference in Mexico last year, prosecutors said. The company then billed the expenses, which included prostitutes, drinks and strip clubs, to the city, the criminal complaints allege.
Angulo is also accused of billing the city thousands of dollars for campaign videos produced for Salinas’s campaign. All totaled, he is accused of submitting some $40,000 in fraudulent expenses through Envirosystems, which prosecutors allege got the contract with Sunland Park after giving $10,000 in cash to Daniel Salinas and $10,000 in cash to another city worker, with the understanding she would run for Dona Ana County Commission.
The money was to be reimbursed from a $12 million account the city created with a donation from Sunland Park Race Track owner Stan Fulton to help get a border crossing to Mexico built in the town, according to the criminal complaint.
Salinas is accused of soliciting kickbacks to purchase alcohol and prostitutes in Mexico and then submitting fraudulent receipts to be reimbursed for the entertainment.
A $1 million bail has been requested for Salinas, who was taken into custody by New Mexico State Police Friday afternoon. Angulo and Hernandez were still at large as of Friday evening.
Click here for more from the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Last month, Gov. Susana Martinez and state auditor Hector Balderas conducted a joint news conference and raised the distinct possibility that the state’s Department of Finance and Administration may have to come to the town of 14,000 near the borders of Texas and Mexico and take over running the day-to-day operations of city government.
In the meantime, there’s a new joke circulating across the state:
Who do you get when you cross Rod Blagojevich and Marion Barry? Daniel Salinas! (Rimshot)
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Amy Orlando, Associated Press, Daniel Salinas, Envirosystems Management Consultants, Gerardo Hernandez, Hector Balderas, KFOX-TV, Las Cruces Sun-News, Martin Resendiz, New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, New Mexico Supreme Court, Sunland Park, Susana Martinez, voter fraud