The Secretary of State’s Office has fired two whistleblowers who took allegations of potential criminal activity in the office to the FBI.
Deputy Secretary of State Francisco Trujillo II confirmed to NMPolitics.net only that Manny Vildasol and James Flores “are no longer employed” by the office. In an e-mail, the secretary of state’s office administrator, Paula Templeton, said this:
“Yes, we are able to confirm that in separate circumstances Manuel Vildasol and James Flores are no longer employed by the N.M. Secretary of State’s Office. For the protection of the employee and the state any confidential personnel matters will not be discussed. However, the Secretary of State is certain the separation of each employee is in the best interest of the agency and the state.”
Both were recently placed on leave, and both also revealed they had talked to the FBI about allegations of criminal activity in Mary Herrera’s office. Today, Flores, speaking for the first time about the situation, told KOB-TV in Albuquerque that it was a “fact” that Herrera “ordered government exempt employees within her office to gather signatures for her” re-election campaign.
And Flores issued a challenge to Herrera. He said he believes he was fired for meeting with the FBI, but he denied recording secret video in the office – something Vildasol has admitted doing. Flores said he would take a lie detector test to prove he didn’t record secret video if Herrera took one to prove she didn’t order exempt employees to gather signatures.
You can watch the full KOB report here: