Rick May will not go quietly: “Some NMFA Board members may be more interested in designating a scapegoat than discovering what happened”
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The chief executive officer at the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) isn’t going down without a fight.
On Monday (Sept. 10), members of the NMFA board are meeting in Santa Fe to discuss the employment status of Rick May and on Friday (Sept. 7), May sent a memo to the board asking them to postpone any decision on his job because various investigations are still ongoing as investigators try to get to the bottom of the mess at the NMFA concerning faked documents and audits that have jeopardized the state’s credit ratings.
“I would respectfully request that any determination of my employment status not be made until all the facts are known,” May said in the three-page memo, adding that making a decision on his employment status on Monday would be “arbitrary and unjustified.”
May has been placed on administrative leave with pay from his $150,000 a year job after the NMFA’s chief operating officer, John Duff, was arrested last month along with a former controller at the NMFA, Greg Campbell, and charged with multiple felony counts of alleged forgery, security fraud, racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering in connection to the bogus audit filed for fiscal year 2011.
At a meeting with state legislators two weeks ago, a number of Roundhouse reps asked NMFA board president Nann Winter about May still getting paid while being on leave and state Sen. Mary Kay Papen (D-Las Cruces) was quoted saying of May, “He’s done. He’s outta here.”
In his memo, May says he has not had a chance to “fully brief the Board regarding our immediate and prudent responses regarding the fraudulent audit” and lists a number of facts he says show that he and senior management at the NMFA discovered the problem.
And, in direct language, May concludes the memo by writing, “I shall pursue any legal and other options to preserve and protect my longstanding reputation for honesty and integrity.”
In a separate document sent to members of the media, May was even more blunt:
“Over the past several weeks, the new Chair has also made public comments about past issues with my management style. I have never been informed what those issues are or been given an opportunity to respond. It appears that some NMFA Board members may be more interested in designating a scapegoat than in discovering what really happened.”
News of the fake audit has had major repercussions across the state as a number of municipal bond issues have been put on hold while criminal investigators and the State Auditor’s Office look into how and why it happened as well as determining just how far off the numbers were.
In the meantime, Wall Street ratings agencies have put the state under review for a possible credit downgrade which, if initiated, could cost taxpayers millions in higher interest payments.
Here’s the memo May sent to the NMFA board Friday:
And here’s video of an interview we did with May after an emergency NMFA meeting right after the news of the fake audit broke in July :