Richardson on 1) Blanchard letter 2) Billy the Kid pardon and 3) DNA Lab move
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I grabbed outgoing Gov. Bill Richardson in the hallway of the Roundhouse at 1:50 p.m. today and spoke to him as he walked to office. During the “walk and talk,” I managed to ask him three quick questions.
First, on the letter from 2004 to former State Investment Council (SIC) chairman Gary Bland received purportedly from former Richardson finance chairman Paul Blanchard the Albuquerque Journal/Journal Santa Fe released excerpts of Wednesday (Dec. 29), telling Bland to:
“Please get 3 or 4 of the entities doing business with your office to send their donations in and attend this function. The contributions are $10,000 per person. This will be a very intimate setting and should make your contributors very happy with their access to the Governor.”
“It was inappropriate,” Richardson said Wednesday. “It put Gary Bland in a difficult position. I was unaware of it. It happened eight years ago.” (Actually, six years and a half years ago.)
Second, as to a possible pardon for Billy the Kid, Richardson said, “All I’ll say is that of all the pardons and commutations I’ve been asked to hand out, this is the only one I will hand out — if I hand it out.”
And third, the tug of war between outgoing Secretary of the Department of Public Service John Denko – who wants to move the state’s DNA lab from Albuquerque to Santa Fe — and incoming Gov. Susana Martinez’ pledge to simply move the lab back should Denko initiate the switch:
“It’s going to happen,” Richardson said of the move to Santa Fe. “I support Secretary Denko. The [state] Supreme Court said it was appropriate.”
For more on the possible Billy the Kid pardon and Governor-elect Martinez’ opinon, click here.
As for the Blanchard letter, the Journal quotes Blanchard as saying he has no recollection of writing it — even though the Journal posted an excerpt showing Blanchard’s letterhead and concludes with
There is no signature on the letter.
Bland resigned as head of the SIC in October of 2009 after receiving a no-confidence vote from some members of the council. During his tenure, allegations were made that Marc Correra — the son of Anthony Correra, a longtime financial supporter of Gov. Richardson — had charged fees to set up meetings for fund managers to pitch investments to the commission. The FBI and the Security and Exchange Commission are investigating the charges and the state of New York wrangled a guilty plea from Saul Meyer, an equities manager who said that investments “were pushed on me by politically connected individuals in New Mexico.”
Bland’s attorney told the Journal, “Gary [Bland] turned Blanchard down.”
Blanchard told the Journal: “The letter is stupid. I wouldn’t have written it, and I had very little to do with Bland.”
It’s not clear what specific event the letter refers to although the Journal points out there was a $10,000-per couple fundraiser in Santa Fe for the Moving America Forward Foundation – a non-profit organization founded by Richardson — eight days after the letter was written.
Blanchard has been a major contributor to Richardson and owns the Downs at Albuquerque, a horse racing track and casino that has been the subject of a recent flap regarding a no-bid contract that state Sen. Tim Keller – among others — objected to.
Richardson appeared on Fox News today (Wednesday) and spoke to Trace Gallagher about North Korea (Richardson saying that he thinks the North Korean government is moderating a bit). At the end of the interview, Richardson talks about Billy the Kid (“I’ll make the right decision but I’m not quite there yet.”) Here’s the video:
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Albuquerque Journal, Anthony Correra, Bill Richardson, Billy the Kid, DNA lab, Downs at Albuquerque, Gary Bland, John Denko, Journal Santa Fe, Marc Correra, Moving America Forward Foundation, New Mexico Department of Public Safety, New Mexico state Board of Finance, Saul Meyer, State Investment Council, Susana Martinez, Tim Keller