UPDATE: SANTA FE STUDIOS: Javier Gonzales: “I left for personal reasons.”
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His name kept coming up in Watchdog interviews with subjects asking about his current role in the $25 million dollar publicly-financed film and media complex development south of Santa Fe that took six years to become a reality.
In an article appearing in the Journal in late 2009, Gonzales described himself as “a minority owner and spokesperson for the Santa Fe Studios project.” In the same article, Gonzales said the owners of the Studios, Lance and Conrad Hool, brought him into the project in 2007 as a “consultant” to help the Hools deal with the state economic development department (EDD), the Santa Fe County Commissioners, and the State Land Office. The key agencies involved in vetting the project and, ultimately, guaranteeing the financing.
Gonzales emails the Watchdog.
Mr. Gonzales contacted the Watchdog both by phone and email. Here is what he stated in his email:
“I started my participation on the project around the time the land on NM 14 was sold from the State Land Office to Santa Fe County.
Last year, for personal reasons that had nothing to do with the studios, I stepped away from assisting the Hools with the project.
As you know, I worked in an advisory capacity over the last few years regarding the development of the studios. I assisted with the public process of getting the property zoned and met with film industry officials, private business and government officials at the state, city and county level about the project.
I believe in the film industry and believe that Santa Fe can in fact become a global leader in film production. Public investment toward that effort is critical.
I’ve never been an owner in the project or the facility.
From my days as a county commissioner until today, everything I have been involved with is open and transparent, including my involvement with the studios.
And it will continue to be so because any project that gets public funding should be subject to the maximum transparency possible. I have all confidence in Santa Fe County and the State to assure that public monies used have gone directly to the studio and not used for personal gain on any front.
Neither myself, family members or any other entity affiliated with me has received any direct or indirect compensation from public monies used on this project.
I made a personal decision to no longer be affiliated with the project. I am still hopeful for its long term success for the benefit of Santa Fe and its growing film economy.”
Mr. Gonzales via a phone call told the Watchdog he stepped away from his involvement with the Studios in August 2011. The Studios opened for business in November 2011.
“Early on I was certainly a proponent and a participant,” Gonzales said. “When it came time for the legal incorporation I made a personal and business decision not to have a financial interest in the Studios.”